I reached out to Jeff Clark, CEO of CelticsBlog, to ask him some questions about new Charlotte Hornets point guard Terry Rozier. A huge thank you to him. He and the rest of his staff do a great job over at CelticsBlog.
And now for the questions.
What is the general perception of Terry Rozier among Celtics fans? Is there still goodwill from his strong playoff run a couple seasons ago, or is there a lot of animosity for the way this past season played out?
Rozier has gotten a lot of mileage off of that playoff run. He had a built in excuse all season long (not used in the right role) and ultimately he got paid by Charlotte because of it. I think he’s good enough to deserve a starting role and to be paid like a starter, but I think the deal he got was a bit above his real value. There are still fans that believe that he would have been a reasonable backup plan to replace Kyrie if Kemba hadn’t become available (thanks!). But he certainly did his part to burn bridges when he went on the ESPN carwash and made it clear he had no interest in returning to Boston. I think he’s a good guy and people like him personally, but he was one of the main ones out there looking to get his shots up, regardless of how it impacted the team. At a minimum, his inability to adapt and accept his role as the season progressed was a big red flag.
For further reading on this subject, see our staff roundtable on “Should the Celtics re-sign Terry Rozier?”
Rozier has some pretty low assist numbers for a point guard. Is that a function of him sharing the court with other distributors a lot, or is he just not a very good passer?
He’s a shooter, that’s his game. He’s not a distributor. He doesn’t turn the ball over a ton, but hey, you can’t turn it over if you just shoot it every time, right? I’m being sarcastically harsh, but the point is the same. His game is shooting and his feel for passing is average at best. The playoff run was fueled a lot by Al Horford taking on a big portion of initiating the offense from the high post.
A lot has been made about Rozier never shooting above 40% from the field for a season. From looking at the stats, it looks like that may just be a product of the amount of 3-pointers he shoots. Do Hornets fans have reason to be concerned with Rozier’s efficiency as a scorer?
Context is everything. I would suggest looking at his splits as a starter vs a bench role. Playoffs vs. regular season. Playing alongside playmakers like Horford and Hayward etc. There have been 20 different versions of Terry Rozier over the last few years and it is anyone’s guess what version you’ll get in Charlotte.
There are varied opinions about Rozier’s defense. The Hornets front office has constantly referred to him as a very good defender, but I’ve seen several places that see him as the opposite. Which is it?
I would say that he has the potential to be a very good defender but (to continue a theme) he’s very inconsistent. There are certainly times when he can look like an attack dog - in particular on the ball. There are other times when he looks lost and confused on that side of the court. The potential is there, unlocking that potential is the challenge for Borrego and it might boil down with narrowing his focus and role on defense.
Rozier has been significantly better as a starter than as a reserve throughout his career. Do you have any idea why that is, and do you think his strong play as a starter can be sustained for an entire season?
Terry posted much better stats when he was given the ball and the green light from the jump. Part of that is probably feel. He just happens to be one of those guys that needs to get into a groove and be featured in the offense to be effective. A lot of his struggles really did have to do with his situation. The goal in Charlotte should be to put him in the right position to succeed. That means surrounding him with spacing and good passers and getting him the ball in good position to make a play.
Forgive the negative nature of this analysis. A lot of it stems from heightened expectations that ultimately left us feeling underwhelmed or disappointed in Boston. He has a fun personality and clearly has a lot of basketball talent. I just wouldn’t expect him to be a star. He has big shoes to fill replacing Kemba Walker and he’s not that guy at all. But used correctly and put into proper perspective and he can be a very useful difference maker for your team.