Jason Terry and the Suns' Steve Nash were the only players last season to shoot 50% from the field, 40% from beyond the arc and 80% from the line.
Record: 58-24 (3rd in West) Points scored: 102.5 (3rd in NBA) Points allowed: 96.8 (14th) Coach: Avery Johnson (second season with the Mavericks)
Read the writing on the wall: The coach is demanding better D in Big D
Jason Terry looks around the Mavericks' practice facility and surveys the abundant wall signage, which hews to a common theme. They read CONTAIN, CONTEST and -- a reference to the team's goal for opponents' field goal shooting -- 42%. "There's a couple of new ones up there," says Terry, taking note of the EVERYBODY REBOUND sign. "We love it. We know we have to get stops. That's why we watch films of the teams that win championships, Detroit and San Antonio, because they thrive on the defensive end."
Anyone who remembers Terry's five seasons in Atlanta, when he acted as a human turnstile for opposing point guards, might be surprised by his new appreciation of D, but such is the influence of coach Avery Johnson, who since taking over from Don Nelson last March has reprogrammed Dallas in his own feisty image. Every time Terry hand-checked in practice, Johnson whistled him for the illegal maneuver. Whenever Terry got beat in a game, he heard about it. "I used to put more hands on the body," says Terry. "Now there's a big emphasis on using my body to contain the man."
Johnson is also asking Terry to pick up his scoring. Two years ago Terry would have been the sixth option on the team. Now he's No. 2 on the bill, with only Dirk Nowitzki ahead of him. So instead of the 12.4 points Terry averaged last season, Johnson wants him to put up 17 to 20 -- as he did in the playoffs, when Terry averaged 17.5 points and shot 49.1% from three-point range. "We want him to provide more offense, but that doesn't give him the right to coast on defense," says Johnson. Or, in a sign of the times, Terry should TAKE THE DEFENSIVE CHALLENGE! -- Chris Ballard