Terry Rozier had a heck of a game last night. Read CelticsLife's Topher Lane's rehash of the contest. It is only exhibition, but it shows what he can do. I have written in the past that I feel Danny Ainge wants a team comprised of players 6'4" to 6'10" that are very versatile and can play at least two of the ball handler/wing/big positions. The following tweet substantiates that stand.
I thought this was good from Ainge explaining some of the rationale for Bradley trade beyond money. Cs are going to be big & versatile: pic.twitter.com/FwvdcxxTQb
There are many similarities between Terry Rozier and Avery Bradley. Both are 6'2", weigh between 180 and 190 pounds, are very good defenders and were mid-round draft picks, Avery going 19th in 2010 at the age of 19 and Terry picked 16th in 2015 at 21 years old. The two guards, both great athletes, played low minutes in the first two years in the league and developed slowly.
So will Terry end up being traded, just as Avery was? Things have changed since Danny's statement. Isaiah Thomas was traded for Kyrie Irving, a much taller player. The need for more size at the SG spot may not be as important now. It all comes down to potential playoff matchups. The Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors immediately come to mind. If Isaiah comes back all the way from his hip injury, he can be a handful for any defender. And then there are Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose. Rozier would be up to that task. How about Stephen Curry. With a full regular season under his belt, I believe Terry would do well.
I am sure Danny believed that a 5'9"/6'2" backcourt (Thomas/Bradley) would not work long-term. That is part of the reason Isaiah and Avery are no longer here. And I truly believe Ainge viewed Terry as a probable replacement for Bradley. I no longer believe that Rozier is in constant danger of being traded.
Terry is definitely an athletic defender and rebounder who can score from deep and penetrate. But I truly believe he needs to get better as a back-up point guard. Isaiah couldn't play the two and was not a solid defender. Avery couldn't play the one. They are gone. They lacked versatility. NBC Sports' A. Sherrod Blakely had this to say about the effect Bradley's departure may have on Rozier's upcoming season:
Rozier is well aware how the departure of his mentor, Bradley, has the potential for him to play more than the 17.1 minutes per game he played last season.
Rozier may still be part of a future trade, particularly for a super star. I just feel his position with the Celtics is a bit more secure now. Terry may progress faster than Avery if given ample playing time. Rozier was 2 1/2 years older than Bradley was coming into the league. Avery was not considered a reliable ball handler, and that limited him to just the shooting-guard position. If Rozier can improve his ball handling and distribution, he is capable of playing at the one and two. That would make a lot of difference. This could be his break-out year. The opportunity is there for him.