Celtics

Celtics

BOSTON – You’ll have to pardon Terry Rozier if he doesn’t have that deer-in-the-headlights look about him when he takes to the floor tonight for what should be the first of many meaningful stretches of playing time.
 
You see, being harassed with the defensive pressure of Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart while trying to become a pest to Isaiah Thomas (which I’m told Rozier is frequently in practice), has instilled in Rozier the kind of confidence that’s not easily shaken.
 
That’s one of the main reasons why the Celtics aren’t freaking out about the departure of Evan Turner to Portland this offseason and more recently the sprained left ankle injury to Marcus Smart that’ll keep him out for a few games.
 
When it comes to filling those two voids, all eyes will be on Rozier.
 
“When somebody’s hurt, the next guy has to step up,” Thomas said. “Terry has shown he’s ready for that opportunity. He’s worked very hard this summer. I’m proud of him. I’ve been in that position before. He’s been waiting for that opportunity. He’s ready.”
 
Rozier had an impressive run during summer league as Boston’s best player. And in training camp, he hasn’t let up in being one of the standout performers.
 
It has led to the second-year guard being exactly where he thought his hard work in the offseason would take him to, and that’s a prominent spot in the Celtics’ rotation.
 
And in doing so, Rozier knows it’ll likely mean taking some minutes from his veteran teammates like Isaiah Thomas who he credits for always being there to help him grow as a player.
 
“I’m trying to get better, but I want to play too,” Rozier told CSNNE.com. “Getting his (Thomas’) minutes, anybody’s minutes, I’m going for it. But I know he’s not going to lighten up and make it easy for me. I know that. I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
 
It certainly looks like it for Rozier who has shown growth in just about every phase of his game since he was selected by Boston with the 16th overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft.
 
There were many who questioned Danny Ainge’s decision to draft a guard so high when he already had Thomas, Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart in the fold.
 
But Rozier has shown the promise that Ainge saw in him coming out of Louisville.

 

Now it’s just a matter of Rozier getting the kind of minutes and producing, that will ultimately validate the trust and faith Ainge and his coaching staff showed in selecting Rozier.
 
For Rozier, not being looked upon all that favorably is just par for the course when it comes to his basketball career.
 
“I’ve been doubted all my life,” Rozier said. “It ain’t hurt me. I always tell myself, ‘they’re gonna fall in love with me because I play hard and they’re gonna fall in love with my intensity level. People didn’t know who I was when I came here; that’s fine. They’ll fall in love with me and my game sooner or later.”