Celtics Terry Rozier proving he can be an NBA starter - but where?
Okay, I am convinced. Terry Rozier is for real. As soon as he got his first starting gig on January 31 and put up a triple-double, he has been on a roll. Last night against the Washington Wizards, he started and played 47 minutes of the double-overtime game with a stat line of 21 points, five rebounds, nine assists, two steals and three blocks. Is Terry ready to be a starter in the NBA? Wizards Coach Scott Brooks and many others think so:
T-Ro has been progressing all season. He has been rebounding very well and has certainly improved his ball-distribution and penetration skills. This is what Scott Brooks had to say (per MassLive's Tom Westerholm):
"Really impressive," Brooks said when asked about Rozier's season. "Give him and the coaching staff credit. He's really developed into - you could argue that he could be a starting point guard in this league. It's a luxury to have a guy like him on the bench because he's probably like their sixth starter. And the way he defends, the way he's shooting the ball, and he's really doing a good job of controlling the game and being a point guard out there."
Even though Terry was chosen by the Celtics with the 16th pick in the 2015 NBA draft and the team took some flak for the choice, I rate him in the top-5, with many NBA execs wishing they could have another shot at a remake of that draft. Here is Brad Stevens on Terry and that draft (per MassLive's Tom Westerholm):
"Terry's tremendous, but that was all expected," Stevens said. "He's got a great work ethic, great competitiveness, great toughness, great athleticism. He's probably the guy that through the draft (process) that you said, 'He's for sure going to get better with all those intangibles.'"
Rozier is in the final two years of his rookie contract, earning 2.0 million this year and 3.0 million next season. The Celtics already have a top-flight point guard in Kyrie Irving, and as Brooks stated, "It's a luxury to have a guy like him on the bench." Danny Ainge has a major decision coming up on Terry's future.
Ainge and Stevens prefer lineups with players that can switch on defense one-through-five. That is part of the reason that Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley are no longer here. Danny and Brad may feel that an Irving/Rozier backcourt doesn't have the size to contain certain matchups on the defensive end. All of these factors will come into play as to whether T-Ro remains a Celtic long-term or becomes part of a trade this summer or next season.
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Photo via Michael Dwyer/AP Photo
Video via Tomasz Kordelewski