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Jason Terry's Candor Back In Atlanta Draws Praise From One Hawks Fan

If you're somehow able to shut out all of the LeBron James chatter, Dallas Mavericks guard Jason Terry and his own chatter has become a dominant theme in the 2011 NBA Finals, if for no other reason because he keeps putting himself in position to back it up.

"The one thing [Terry] knew was that, once he said some things, he's going to have to back it up. So, I give him a lot of credit," Carlisle said, as quoted by Jennifer Floyd Engel of the Fort Worth Star Telegram. "It's a lot easier to stay low key and sort of go with the flow and then think, 'I am going to go out there and be more aggressive.' Another thing to say, 'I'm putting it on myself,' and let's see if he can."

Yeah he makes life hard on himself, yet ironically, his effort to go with the flow earlier in his career might be part of what made Terry into the style of player he is today.

When Terry entered the league a little more than a decade ago from the University of Arizona, he was billed as a point guard - I'm pretty sure Golden State Warriors fans remember the Atlanta Hawks trading veteran point guard Mookie Blaylock out west to acquire the 10th pick in the 1999 NBA Draft, which ended up being Terry.

But crammed into Blaylock's role of lead ball handler, distributor and extension of then-Hawks head coach Lenny Wilkens, Terry was held to a standard that (we now know) he was never meant to live up to. But even moreso, it was evident to Jason Walker of SB Nation's Atlanta Hawks site Peachtree Hoops that Terry's offense was beginning to overshadow his defense.

And so Walker asked Terry about it back during his Atlanta days. 

In return, he got a moment of candor that cuts through what we might see today as a big talking persona emanating counterproductive bravado.

Why I want Jason Terry to get that ring - Peachtree Hoops
Jet came in at #16 on my GOAT Atlanta Hawks, and #3 in the Hawks of the Aughts Decade but remains one of my all-time favorite Hawks for the way he played, he worked (a notorious gym rat who practiced shooting at all hours of the day and night), and for his candor.

My favorite moment with Terry came in an interview after a tough game, after looking around to make sure it was just him and myself talking, answered a question I had regarding if he felt his defense in the NBA didn't match up with his defensive reputation in college. He told me that he felt a lot of pressure to play good offensively, since he believed that's where reputations were made and success was measured in the NBA. His defense had taken a backseat. Most guys would have deflected my question, but he took the time to be thoughtful about his answer and didn't spare what he felt was the truth, no matter how he looked, image wise, because of it.

Regardless of what you think about Terry's take on adjusting to the NBA or his focus on reputation even back then, the notion that he was going to speak his mind without concern for "how he looked, image-wise" resonates with the persona we're seeing today.

I don't know if you should love him for not deflecting that question or hate on him for the way he answered it - apparently, it's hard to ever cram Terry into a box, whether positionally or otherwise.

And, again, it's all part of why so many people across the NBA landscape are rooting for the guy.