Boston Celtics: Terry Rozier taking advantage of larger role
Terry Rozier has made great strides since he entered the league three seasons ago. Rozier, who was drafted out of the University of Louisville in 2015, came into the NBA as a raw point-guard with nothing more than his athleticism and length. Since then the 23-year-old has found a solid role — both offensively and defensively — off the bench of the Boston Celtics. He has also made his way onto the starting lineup three times this season.
In the three games, he started, Rozier averaged 20 points, eight rebound, and seven assists. Taking advantage of his opportunity when Kyrie Irving sat out with an injury.
Rozier is averaging a career-high in points-per-game (10.4), offensive rating (104), defensive rating (100), true-shooting percentage (52.7) and three-point percentage (38.5). He’s become a valuable role-player for the Celtics’ backcourt, especially after they traded guard Avery Bradley to the Detroit Pistons.
Rozier’s effectiveness as a jump-shooter — one of his biggest question-marks as a prospect — has been the difference-maker in his offensive output. Rozier has improved his three-point percentage from 31.8 last season to 38.5 this season. Additionally, he’s attempting almost twice as many three-point attempts per game this year (4.6) as opposed to the previous (2.4). Rozier’s ability to make spot-up threes has even kept him on the court with the first-unit in some late-game situations.
He’s also finding a niche as the main playmaker — another one of his major improvements — on the second-unit. When Irving is off-the-floor — last year the Boston Celtics problems were similar with Isaiah Thomas — the Celtic bench struggles to find someone who’s willing to take control of the offense. Fortunately, Rozier has helped mask that weakness.
Rozier uses his quickness, athleticism and above-average handle to create space against most backup point-guards. This year, Rozier has seen an increase in his free-throw-attempt rate (1.7 per game), showing an increase in his aggressiveness. Other than the spot-up three, the pull-up jumper is Rozier’s most common way of scoring. This season, Rozier is shooting 50 percent on pull-up shots.
In addition to his recent offensive growth, Rozier’s defense and rebounding have been another strong-point. As a lengthy, athletic guard, Terry Rozier has always been a solid rebounder. However, his 4.4 rebounds per game this season, especially in a non-starting role, is an impressive mark for a guard. As for his defense, Rozier has been a difficult matchup for opposing guards.
Although he doesn’t hold the most crucial role on the team, Rozier’s recent breakout performances have added much-needed depth to a Boston Celtics team poised to make a run at the NBA finals.