Next step for Terry Rozier: Consistency, especially on defense

Anyone that has watched Terry Rozier play can attest to his tenacity, aggressive play style and blazing quick speed. After an injury to Avery Bradley during the playoffs last season, Rozier was able to give the C's a small showcase of all of these skills and intangibles put together. After averaging only 1.8 points per game during the 2015-2016 regular season, the 16th overall pick in the 2015 draft went on to average 4.8 ppg in the postseason.

Some may see this as a modest increase, which it is, but what really stood out was Rozier's minutes increase -- 19.8 from 8.0 during the regular season. 

During both summer leagues and training camp Rozier was arguably Boston's best player in the eyes of general manager Danny Ainge, via ESPN's Chris Forsberg:

"He’s been our best player from the first day of training camp this summer. He’s been terrific for us. He was a good player last year in training camp, just didn’t get a lot of opportunities because of our depth at guard. I think he’s winning a spot."

In the Utah summer league, Rozier averaged 19.0 ppg while also playing the role of facilitator with 5.0 assists per game. He even hit a game winning shot:

Rozier has made a case for himself as both a legitimate first-round pick and a rotational player for the Celtics. With this in mind, head coach Brad Stevens sat down with Rozier before Monday's practice to offer some advice to the young point guard, via Scott Souza of the Providence Journal:

"We all know Terry can play. It’s a matter of doing the right thing in as many possessions as you possibly can."

The 22-year old clearly possesses all of the aforementioned skills and intangibles -- tenacity, aggressive play, speed and more. His development into a truly reliable backup option hinges on whether or not he can put them all together on a consistent basis. On the offensive end, Rozier believes he can stand with the rest of the NBA. Defensively, he know he can be better:

"Obviously, I know I can play in this league offensively. I just have to stay on myself about the defense — sticking to the team principles, and what we do, to put us in position to be successful."

Coach Stevens, who has consistently praised Rozier's efforts, believes that the second year point-guard has the potential for growth and can make the necessary adjustments to be a help defensively:

"He’s got to just continue to grow and be in the right spot, in the right position, as do we all. That’s part of learning the habits as you do it and making it part of what you do on every possession — especially defensively."

His teammate, defensive anchor Jae Crowder, echoed the sentiments of Coach Stevens and expressed that adjustments are key for Rozier:

"He’s so fast and he gets downhill so very fast that, instead of seeing the floor sometimes, he’ll try to go one-on-one. He can make the play, but Coach might not like it so much. I know he’s a heck of a player. I just want him to get more savvy and get more smart.”

If he follows the direction and advice of his coach and teammates, Rozier has the potential to not just be an offensive spark off the bench but a legitimate two-way player similar to his teammates Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley.

Photo credit: Mark L. Baer/ USA Today
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