Before all of the blame gets thrown back towards general manager Danny Ainge’s face. The selection of Terry Rozier as the 16th overall pick by the Boston Celtics, might not have been that terrible of a pick as it first sounded…maybe.
Granted, the addition of Terry Rozier doesn’t make a whole lot of sense in the grand scheme of things. First off, with Rozier being added in as a PG. This now totals up a potential 5 point guards on the roster available for Brad Stevens to use at his disposal. The overload at this position, beckons for turmoil and a fight for adequate playing time.
Chances are that Avery Bradley gets moved from his natural position of point guard over to shooting guard, to help balance-out a position of need, even if recently drafted SG R.J. Hunter develops in his rookie season next year. Where the Celtics are currently at point guard wise, it doesn’t make much sense to let anybody go in order to free up cap space. Isaiah Thomas, who became the Celtics most valuable player in the latter course of 2015 off the bench is an obvious asset for Boston for the future. Marcus Smart and even Phil Pressey provided indispensable energy for Boston last season, and nowhere near provide any “glamour’ for luring in a big-time, franchise player into Beantown.
So in other words, Boston is virtually stuck with Terry Rozier and their cluttered PG mess for a few more years, which administers both positive and negative correlations.
Whether the outside opinion has come to terms with Rozier on the roster. There are a multitude of ways where he can be featured in the Celtics offense.
Provides a canny sense of where he is on the floor
While Terry Rozier isn’t the best shooter that Boston could’ve drafted. The best thing Rozier does well is something Brad Stevens and the coaching staff are unable to teach coming in, which is a knowing sense of where he is on the floor. In most cases, spacing is a trait that becomes under-valued for developing players, yet is one of the more critical aspects for an NBA offense.
When dealing with an offense like Boston, who at times became stagnant in the half-court. It would only make sense to find a player to help off-set offensive miscues. Considering the type of offense that Louisville ran while under Rozier. For the most part, Rozier saved the Cardinals offense when it was experiencing letdowns. Basically, Rozier benefitted greatly by seamlessly being in the right position at the right time.
Rozier shot 30% from the field overall in his two seasons at Louisville. However, what got overshadowed was his willingness to do the dirty work, by cleaning up a bevvy of missed shots, and in turn re-create second chance opportunities. Rozier, even when dealing with his diminutive 6’0” size, averaged 6.2 rebounds per game as a sophomore last season, and nearly 70% came off the offensive end.
Boston was one of the worst offensive rebounding teams in the NBA last year, averaging just over 10 per game. While partly this was due to having a lack of a center, on a larger scale, only 6’8” forward Jared Sullinger brought down 2 or more offensive rebounds per game during this 2014-15 season.
Beating his man off the dribble and off ball-screens
Other than Isaiah Thomas, Boston had no one who could create off-the dribble, let alone carve up defenses by penetration last year. Now, with Rozier as a back-up, the Celtics can use Rozier soundly off ball-screens just as effectively as they did for Thomas.
While Rick Pitino fell victim at times to Rozier trying play “too fast” in the half-court. He repeatedly applauded Rozier for his ability to “takeover” games by being smart with the basketball. Brad Stevens became apparent to Rozier’s ball skills by saying, “He’s got that burst that the really good point guards have.”
That quick burst is something Rozier was able to utilize often in the half-court. This was something he had to willingly learn because, while Rozier can be depicted as a “slasher”. His quickness compensates for his poor shooting.
You will see in these two videos that Rozier’s ability to dice defenses with his speed is something that he and Thomas will complement nicely.
During last season, Thomas created so much off screens set by Brandon Bass and Kelly Olynyk. When teams clogged the middle, or stopped penetration. Thomas had the fortitude to dish out timely assists when he needed to, by averaging 4.2 assists and just under 2.0 turnovers. Considering for the large amount of minutes Thomas produced off the bench, with a durable Rozier, spreading the ball out more efficiently will be biggest concept to look forward to in the near future. Time will tell how much Phil Pressey will be applied in the pick and roll next season. Fortunately, Boston’s pick and roll offense ranked in the middle of the NBA, even with a small amount of play-makers present.
Defensive enforcer and relentless on-ball defender
Boston’s lack of size along the perimeter made it difficult to inflict chaos to opposing teams in the passing lanes. However, what made the Celtics thrive last season was a heavy dose of “on-ball” pressure implemented by rookie Marcus Smart and Isaiah Thomas. Who both combined to enforce nearly 3 steals per game.
Smart forced many due to his active, long arms on the wings. Whereas Thomas, who is similar built to that of Rozier, worked opposing guards by a mere quick instincts with his hands. Rozier made a living at Louisville under head coach Rick Pitino’s “fast and furious” pressure defense. That was kept sustained throughout the entire game. Although, it is undetermined to whether or not Brad Stevens maintains a quick tempo offensively.
Regardless, Rozier finished his sophomore season last year with 72 steals, and most of them was in part of his relentless pressure on defense.
You will see here in these videos that Rozier was able to pressure his opponents early on in the half-court.
This is something that Stevens, regardless of playing up-tempo, can exploit in spurts. Rozier won’t be starting, but placing Isaiah Thomas or Marcus Smart alongside the rookie Rozier in the back-court will help in cases like this. Because when Boston goes small, which they occasionally did last season when Stevens put Avery Bradley on the wings, creates an alternative defensively.
Where Boston currently is at from a roster stand-point, it just doesn’t make sense. They have six “primary ball handlers” and need to trim that number down.
The bottom-line is the Boston Celtics drafted a player they believe had the highest upside of the options available. While it remains to be seen how he fits into the team’s plans this season and in the future, he is undoubtedly a talented two-player in a promising situation that could help him develop rapidly. It might not even be long before fans are clamoring for Terry Rozier to get more playing time.