Rozier making the most of chance to play more


Rozier making the most of chance to play more

WALTHAM, Mass. – Terry Rozier wasn’t exactly Mr. Popularity around these parts when the Boston Celtics tabbed him with the 16th overall pick in last June’s NBA draft.

Fast forward nine months and the 6-foot-2 guard’s value couldn’t be any higher to the Celtics who will once again look to him to provide a spark off of what’s becoming an injury-riddled roster.

Boston will be without Evan Turner for Wednesday night’s game against New Orleans due to a left eye injury suffered in Sunday’s 107-100 win against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Turner’s absence, much like Jae Crowder (high ankle sprain) and Avery Bradley (personal) missing games recently, has created an opportunity for Rozier to see an increased role.

And to his credit, he has made the most of chance to play more having appeared in 11 of Boston’s last 12 games while seeing at least 10 minutes per game.

“Terry’s been very good for us,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “He’s continuing to feel more comfortable day to day.”

Adding a bit to the degree of difficulty for Rozier has been the non-stop changes within the lineups he has been on the floor with.

“When Terry is playing, we usually don’t have a Jae or an Evan in the case of tomorrow,” Stevens said.

One player who sees a decent amount of time on the floor with Terry has been second-year guard Marcus Smart. Pairing them together has given the Celtics a tenacious, physical tandem defensively off the bench that has shown tremendous potential lately.

“Terry’s very aggressive, athletic,” Smart said. “He’s a feisty little guard. Plus being in the backcourt with him, the tenacity I have … us together, that’s a good fit for us.”

Especially on defense where the Celtic’s defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) with them on the floor is 94.5 which his more than six points better than the team’s overall rating (100.7) this season.

Rozier has also been particularly impressive rebounding the ball from the backcourt.

In fact, Rozier’s 10.1 rebounds per 48 minutes trails only Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook (10.8) among all NBA point guards this season.

“Rebounding-wise,” Stevens said, “He adds to our team and our team needs that.”

To see Rozier rebound at a high level has not been a surprise to Stevens.

“We’ve know that since we drafted him,” Stevens said. “That was something that was talked about in the draft room and all workouts. He’s always had an elite ability to chase down balls and rebound above the rim.”

Well aware that it was a strength of his in college, Rozier is simply trying to provide help in an area that the Celtics could use a boost.

“I’m not trying to step on anybody’s toes. I’m not trying to be a hero of the team,” Rozier said recently. “I’m just trying to work my way into it. That’s part of it, just trying to be an extra body off the bench to try and help this team.”


Kyrie Irving gives brief response to Anthony Davis' latest Celtics comments

Kyrie Irving gives brief response to Anthony Davis' latest Celtics comments

Anthony Davis' future was among the hot topics in Charlotte during the NBA's All-Star Weekend.

The New Orleans Pelicans center revealed during All-Star media availability Saturday that the Boston Celtics are on his list of acceptable trade destinations, contrary to reports before the Feb. 7 trade deadline.

The Celtics weren't able to trade for Davis before the deadline because of a league rule (explained here), but they presumably will get their chance to pull off a deal this summer. 

Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving -- the team's lone All-Star Game participant -- was asked by The Athletic's Joe Vardon for his take on Davis' apparent change of heart on Boston, and the 26-year-old superstar didn't have much to say on the matter.

6. I asked Irving after Sunday’s game what he made of Davis’ adding of the Celtics to his list. “Oh, he did, did he?” Irving said. “I don’t think I have a comment on that right now.”

Irving figures to be a key piece in any Davis-to-Boston scenario. He can become an unrestricted free agent this summer and recently has been less adamant about re-signing in Boston than he was in October. If Irving re-signs with the C's, perhaps that would convince Davis that Boston is a good destination for him in 2019-20 and beyond. Davis isn't eligible for free agency until the summer of 2020. Irving and Davis, as Vardon and others have noted, also are friends.

It's going to be fascinating to see how the Davis drama plays out after the season, and if the Los Angeles Lakers get another chance to land him after a public failure to do so at the deadline. It's just another story in what figures to be an absolutely crazy summer that could see several marquee players switch teams.

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