Celtics

Rozier ready to contribute after putting in 'a lot of work' this offseason

Rozier ready to contribute after putting in 'a lot of work' this offseason

BOSTON – While at the University of Louisville, Terry Rozier’s favorite subject was math.

It’s fitting when you consider how his play of late in the preseason has added up to what should be a prominent role off of Boston’s bench.

He certainly delivered a strong performance in Boston’s 113-96 preseason win over Philadelphia on Monday.

Rozier had a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds with six assists, a steal and a blocked shot.

But more important, Rozier had a command of the game at both ends of the floor that we’ve seen flashes of in the past, but rarely has the third-year guard been able to sustain that level of control consistently.

It’s all part of the work Rozier put in this summer in preparation for what he anticipates will be a breakout season.

Rozier appeared in just 39 games as a rookie during the 2015-2016 season, averaging just 1.8 points, 1.6 rebounds and 0.9 assists while shooting 27.4 percent from the field.

Last season he nearly doubled his stats in most categories, averaging 5.5 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists while shooting 36.7 percent from the field while appearing in 74 games.

Rozier spent this summer working out in Cleveland, Los Angeles and Miami with pick-up games including former Celtics like Jeff Green and Kelly Olynyk in addition to All-Star talent such as Washington’s John Wall.

And those matchups combined with a stronger, more fit physique, has Rozier feeling ready to make his mark this season.

“I feel pretty confident,” he said. “I put in a lot of work this summer. I’m not second-guessing myself. I’m going out there and having fun.”

In a separate interview with NBC Sports Boston, Rozier reiterated how different things are for him heading into this season.

“Definitely. I just feel different,” Rozier told NBC Sports Boston. “This year is my first year that I feel I got a role and feeling comfortable, just out there. It felt so natural. I don’t have to think so much like I usually do. Once that settles in, it’s over.”

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Who will be the Celtics' leader on the boards this season?

Who will be the Celtics' leader on the boards this season?

BOSTON – This Celtics team is built to play position-less basketball, a style that lends itself to offensive mismatches.

But the downside lies in rebounding, which can be more difficult with players on the floor for whom board work may not be one of their strengths.

That brings us to the Celtics, who showed most of last season that they can find success on the boards even with players who may not traditionally be viewed as big-time rebounders.

So, who will be the chairman of the boards for Boston this season?

AL HORFORD
He led the team in rebounding last season at 7.4 per game and comes in as the odds-on favorite to repeat. The 32-year-old’s versatility to play both around the basket and on the perimeter will keep him on the floor a ton. And that will give him the best shot at making his presence felt on the glass, which will be one of the areas Boston has to find success to have the kind of season they believe they're capable of delivering. He had 14 double-doubles in points and rebounds last season and came within one rebound of a double-double on 10 other occasions.

DANIEL THEIS


This is my pick to lead in rebounding, if it’s not Horford. Minutes more than anything else are what I believe would keep Theis from leading this team in rebounds. As a rookie last season, he led the team in rebounding percentage (.160) while grabbing 4.3 rebounds in 14.9 minutes per game. The 26-year-old started to show signs of becoming a 3-point threat, which bodes well for his chances at seeing as much playing time or even more, this season. And with increased minutes come a more impactful role, a role that will surely include him doing a strong job rebounding.

TERRY ROZIER


When you think of rebounding, 6-foot-2 combo guards don’t come to mind. But Rozier has already shown himself to be among the better rebounding guards in the NBA. With Boston having so many perimeter threats on the roster, that creates gaps and seams towards the rim that Rozier could easily slip into and do what he does as well as any guard in the NBA not named Russell Westbrook – and that’s rebound.

JAYSON TATUM
His length, deceptive athleticism and basketball smarts make him a player who could factor in the team’s rebounding efforts on a grander level this season. With Gordon Hayward (ankle) back in the mix along with Kyrie Irving, there’s a very real possibility that Tatum could be looked upon to become a better rebounder after averaging 5.0 per game last season. The key to Tatum’s improvement in this area will lie in his rebounding percentage numbers. Although he was fifth on the team in rebounds per game last season, his rebounding percentage (.091) was seventh among players who began the season in Boston and played more than half the season. Improvement in this area would do wonders for the Celtics.

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Gordon Hayward close to new sneaker deal

Gordon Hayward close to new sneaker deal

Celtics star Gordon Hayward is close to coming to terms on a multi-year sneaker deal after being courted by a number of shoemakers.

Sports shoe and apparel giant Nike, Chinese company Anta and Boston-based New Balance, which has a sponsorship deal with the C's new Auerbach Center training facility, are pursuing Hayward.

Anta reportedly made Hayward an offer about a month ago, according to ESPN's Nick DePaula:

Former Celtics Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo had deals with Anta. Hayward, coming back this season after missing nearly all of last season after an injury five minutes into Celtics debut, has been with Nike, including wearing the company's Kobe 11 shoe.

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