In this week’s coaching conversation, former NBA player and current NBA G-League head coach Jason Terry joins the Basketball Podcast to share insights on shaping his coaching philosophy from his playing experiences.
NBA Champion. NBA Sixth Man of the Year. 19-Year NBA Career. NCAA Champion. Pac-12 Player of the Year.
That is just a start to the list of accolades that former Arizona Wildcats All-American Jason Terry can boast.
19-year NBA veteran brings a wealth of experience and basketball knowledge with him to the Denver Nuggets G League affiliate the Grand Rapids Gold. After wrapping up his prolific playing career in 2018, Terry spent the 2019-20 season as the Assistant General Manager for the G League’s Texas Legends and the 2020-21 season as an assistant coach with his alma mater Arizona Wildcats.
The Atlanta Hawks selected Terry with the 10th overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft and he earned NBA All-Rookie Second Team honors after averaging 19.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.3 steals his first season in the league. After playing with the Hawks from 1999-2004, he was traded to the Dallas Mavericks, where he played from 2004-2012. With the Mavericks, he was named NBA Sixth Man of the Year in 2009 and won an NBA Championship in 2011.
He would go on to play with the Boston Celtics (2012-13), Brooklyn Nets (2013-14), Houston Rockets (2014-16) and the Milwaukee Bucks (2016-18) to close out his professional playing career.
Over the final 14 years of his career, he helped lead his team to the playoffs in 13 seasons. The sharpshooter currently sits in seventh place on the NBA’s career 3-point field goals made list with 2,282. Terry finished his career playing in 1,410 career NBA games, a total that ranks ninth in NBA history. The sharp-shooting NBA Champion owns career averages of 13.4 points, 2.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists.
Jason Terry Coach Quotes:
“There’s something to be said about self-accountability. Guys that are disciplined, guys that have a routine, guys that are focused in on the task at hand, are the ones that usually have the most amount of success.”
“Everybody’s journey is different. I want to empower these guys to take ownership in their own individual journey, knowing that I’ve been somewhere they’re trying to go. Not necessarily telling them, ‘Do it my way,’ because my way may not work for you. Find what works for you, and then master it.”
“Some of the best practices are player led practices . . with those experiences, they gain valuable knowledge and confidence, as well.”
“It was the way he [Isaiah Thomas] mentored the younger guys. One, he led by example. But [he also] led by his voice. When a guy who played at a high level, has been an All-Star comes in and he tells them, ‘Look, you’re going to go through some adversity. That’s part of it. You’ve got to keep going, you’ve got to play harder right here, you’ve got to get up on defense or listen to coach.’ That’s one of the most impactful things.”
“You have to understand what you’re great at, tap into what you’re great at, and you have to do that consistently. When you’re a leader of a team . . you’ve got to know every nuance of that team, you’ve got to know your players, you’ve got to know what they like and what they don’t like . . and then you’ve got to know yourself and trust your own skill set, too.”
“If you’re going to be the leader of anything. You don’t need the approval of everybody else. You’ve just got to know how to get the job done. Be a great communicator, be positive, and lead by example.”
“All my coaches asked me, ‘What is your goal? What do you want to do after basketball? We understand you’ve got 10 more years to play, but what is your focus for after basketball?’ There’s something in you that I see that I know that one day, you’re going to become a great coach. So how can I help you in that process?”
“As a G league coach, part of your responsibility is implementing the [NBA team’s] system, so that when the players come down and go up, there’s no lag time. They understand there’s a direct connection with what they’re teaching there, and what we’re teaching in the G league.”
“When you have those core values established, it makes it easier to critique and to teach and to hold guys accountable.”
“Nobody is out there trying to make mistakes. As a coach, you realize that for the one or two mistakes they’ve made . . they’ve done eight or nine great things out there on the floor. And I think as coaches, sometimes you get too caught up in the moment, too caught up in this particular possession, that you don’t praise your guys for the eight or nine good things they do.”
“It’s about creating those good, winning habits . . we understand that we have to put the work in to get things accomplished and the only way we can do that is to understand what you’re great at. Whatever you’re great at, I want that every day; what you’re not great at, we’ll work on that before and after practice. But when we step on this floor, and the whistle is blown, we want to rely on our strengths every day.”
“As coaches, you have to be transparent with your players. If you tell a guy exactly what you’re expecting, exactly what’s coming, then it makes it easier for those guys to go out and perform. Now, they may not like it a lot of times what they hear, but you’re building trust by being transparent.”
“As a head coach, there’s so much basketball to be had, that if you empower others around you, it makes your job easier.”
“You have to be able to adapt and adjust and tailor your coaching style around each individual guy. Certain guys are just not going to respond to yelling. Certain guys don’t want to be stroked all the time, they want to be told the truth. So, you’ve got to find that balance without sacrificing your non-negotiables.”
Jason Terry Breakdown:
1:00 – Why He is Coaching
3:30 – Coaching in G-League and College
6:00 – Best Practices in Managing People
8:30 – Struggles as a Young Player
11:00 – Mentorships
13:00 – Advice to Point Guards
17:00 – What’s His Goal
21:00 – Best Way to Correct a Player
23:00 – Balancing Teaching and Coaching
25:00 – Teachings from Kevin McHale
28:00 – X Perspective on Defenders
33:00 – Shaping Philosophy of Coaching
39:00 – Yellers and Screamers
43:00 – Observing The Players
45:00 – Conclusion
Jason Terry Links from the Podcast:
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