Devonte’ Graham has gotten a lot of attention this season as the Hornets overachieve and he builds his case to be the Most Improved Player of 2019-2020, and he deserves every ounce of it and more. But I would like to interrupt your regularly-scheduled programming to let you know just how good his backcourt partner, Terry Rozier, has been.
There are two players in the NBA that shoot at least 40% from three, 86% from the line, and average 1.3 steals and 17 points per game.— Chase Whitney (@chasewhitney_) December 5, 2019
Paul George and Terry Rozier.
That’s a good stat, right? It seems good. Someone please confirm this for me.
Rozier got off to an inconsistent start with the Hornets, not dissimilar from his career as a Celtic. The 2017-2018 playoff run showed what he can do when he’s focused, but 2018-2019 was characterized by frustration, a lack of opportunity, and frankly subpar play. After what I would imagine was Terry’s adjustment period to having a new (and prominent) role on a new team in a new city, his level of play has reverted back towards the glimpses that he showed us in April and May of 2018.
The Hornets have played 15 games since mid-November, and in those games Terry has shot 46.2% from the field, 91.9% from the line, 60.1% true shooting, while having a 1.6 assist-to-turnover ratio. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this is around the same time that Graham was inserted into the starting lineup, allowing Terry to float around the three-point line off-ball and hunt for open jumpers. As a player who has never excelled at creating their own shot, having a playmaker like Devonte’ in the backcourt makes his life a lot easier while also giving him a running mate in transition, where their lack of size and strength is made up for in quickness.
One thing that has been consistently good all season long; Terry’s three-point shooting. He’s hitting 40.5% of his threes on the year, and in the last 15 games that percentage jumps to 43.5 on 7.2 attempts per game. His six triples in the second game against the Pistons last week were probably the reason they won the game. James Borrego wants his players to shoot threes, and Terry has done a bang-up job in that regard. He can hit threes both off the dribble and the catch, and the Hornets have done a good job of putting him in situations to succeed on offense.
We still see the occasional defensive lapse (rotations, getting around screens, etc) that results in an easy cut to the basket or a wide-open three, and his turnover issues are still there. On the bright side, these problems are indicative of the Hornets as a whole, and not just Terry. Everyone on the team except for Devonte’ would be advised to take better care of the ball, and everyone needs to play better/smarter defense. But, the Hornets are a young team, and this is what young teams do. However, young players don’t often find themselves alone in a stat category with Paul George. Terry Rozier has managed to do that.
Those who jumped the gun and proclaimed his three-year, $58 million contract an overpayment two weeks into the season are frantically scrambling to delete their posts. I won’t name names, but if you’re reading this, you know who you are. In this house, we do not slander Terry Rozier. Thank you for your cooperation.