rAfter bouncing around the NBA D-League during his rookie season, Boston Celtics guard Terry Rozier could be primed for a breakout second season
Terry Rozier’s presence on the Boston Celtics was never really felt last season during his rookie year. He only appeared in in 39 games for the green and white, averaging eight minutes per contest.
Rozier primarily spent his rookie season either on the bench watching or in Maine on a D-league assignment. As stated before: his presence wasn’t felt.
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This season that’s expected to all change, with Evan Turner deciding to sign with the Blazers. The reason why his subtraction from the team plays a role to the addition of Rozier’s new role is because Rozier will now have the opportunity to play point guard.
Last season, Turner was the team’s back-up, and was pretty good at it. Turner averaged 41.2 passes per game and created an average of 10.4 points per contest last night, according to NBA.com/stats.
Rozier has big shoes to fill, as he’s expected to be the team’s primary back-up option from pundits and those within the organization. Scott Morrison, head coach of the Maine Red Claws, coached Rozier whenever the Celtics decided to send their rookie guard up north. Morrison has been at Celtics training camp and is seeing first-hand the improvements Rozier has made and will continue to make.
“Probably the biggest thing is his increased confidence. “Morrison said.” Getting a little more run in the play-offs and late season, plus a good off-season has allowed Terry to play with a little more confidence and it has shown in his results so far. He’s out there competing and trying to win drills, scrimmages etc. as opposed to just “fit-in.”
Throughout camp, Rozier has had to battle his teammates but also competition for minutes: Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Smart. The aforementioned two are locks to absorb a bevy of the minutes at guard alongside Avery Bradley. To Morrison though, Rozier held his own against the more prominent players throughout camp and sees the improvement he’s made.
“Athletically, Terry has advantages against even the best in the league.” Morrison said.” But without question it would be almost impossible to not improve after a year of playing against guys like Avery and Marcus who are amongst the best defenders in the world as well as trying to guard someone like Isaiah who is an all-star at his position. The increased confidence that comes with this experience would help anyone improve.”
The expectation by many is to see Rozier have a breakout season after averaging a dismal 1.8 points, 1.6 rebounds and 0.9 assists. He looked pretty good during preseason this year, averaging 9.5 points in roughly 18 minutes per game.
“I think everyone is expecting Terry to be much improved from last year. “Morrison said.” But time will tell if he is ready to break-out or still needs more seasoning. Obviously everyone is rooting for his hard work to pay off sooner rather than later; either way he has shown great promise and potential for his long term future.”
Rozier’s potential to become a major player in the league is seen by many. It’s just a progress for him to get on the level. In Morrison’s eyes, he wants to see Rozier improve his defense in pick-and-roll situations and of course become more of a threat on the offensive side of the ball. Becoming a more consistent three-point shooter seems ideal to Morrison as Rozier would be able to use his speed and create opportunities in the paint or create an open opportunity for a teammate.
Apr 26, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Terry Rozier (12) shoots the ball against the Atlanta Hawks in the first quarter in game five of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
As time progresses throughout training camp, Morrison, who’s in Boston for all of October before heading to Maine, sees the improvement Rozier has made and “his desire to get better and compete with the best.”
The time Rozier and Smart spend together on the court together will help them both for the upcoming season, as they’ll be looked upon to carry the bench unit. It’s an opportunity for both to establish themselves as leaders for the second unit, especially for Rozier since he doesn’t have much of a reputation in comparison to Smart.
Turner heading to Rip City is a blessing for the two as they can finally show everyone what they can do with the ball in their hands and running the show.
“Hopefully some extended pre-season minutes playing together will help them develop a strong synergy offensively and a potent paint threat combination in the backcourt. “Morrison said.” Both are excellent drivers, passers and extremely gifted defensively. Marcus is also excellent at passing on things he has learned defensively which should help a young player like Terry develop even faster.”
It’s all about development throughout the season, and if Rozier does that then he won’t be sent to Maine for D-league games. The same applies for Brown, who is looked upon as a future star for the team being selected No. 3 overall this past draft, as he’ll be Jae Crowder’s understudy at the small forward position. Brown is a defensive ace in the same realm of Rozier and Smart.
He has the opportunity and assistance to have a breakout season and establish himself as a quality player
Coach Morrison envisions both Rozier and Brown contributing more to the winning culture in Boston.
“While it would be nice to have players of that calibre in the line-up in Maine, “Morrison said,” I would not expect to see either of those guys this season. Both are capable of contributing in Boston and I hope they continue to work hard, stay focused and remain healthy enough to do just that. Helping the Celtics win ball games is the reason they are here and everyone in Maine will be rooting for those guys to be a big part of it.”
Yes, Rozier needs to improve his offensive game along with Smart and Brown. That’s a given. What’s already established is the nightmare they’ll be for perimeter players on a game-to-game basis. The potential is there for Boston to have the scariest defensive bench perimeter wise already, it’s just a matter of things coming to fruition.
That question will be answered over time, along with their offense, because Boston is following a trend in the NBA which is drafting defensive players and attempting to convert them into semi-decent players when it comes to scoring.
“Marcus Smart is already one of the best defenders in the NBA, “Morrison said,” so right from jump when he is on the court he will take some pressure off of Terry and Jaylen in terms of guarding the opponent’s best offensive player. That said, Terry and Jaylen are both young, explosive athletes that have all the physical tools necessary to become great defensive players. Excellent defensive coaching available to them in Boston, combined with a desire to improve and experience on the court will help them both learn the defensive system and nuances of the top offenses in the league.”
Rozier’s development is crucial for the team’s success as he’s been anointed back-up minutes. He has the opportunity and assistance to have a breakout season and establish himself as a quality player. Watching him go against other perimeter players, he’s clearly not scared to guard bigger opponents even though it’s an already established mismatch.