Boston Celtics: How Terry Rozier can be part of the solution

Photo By Christopher Evans/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images
Photo By Christopher Evans/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images /

Boston Celtics backup point guard Terry Rozier has had a rough season so far. With the playoffs approaching, unlocking his talent could elevate his team.

Anybody who knows anything about the Boston Celtics current season can tell you that Terry Rozier has had a bit of a rough go at it recently. Shots don’t seem to fall, the offense doesn’t hum with the same efficiency with him on the court and he has not proved himself to be much of defensive stopper either.

It’s not like Terry Rozier isn’t a good player, he is. It’s clear that he can knock down tough shots from all over the floor, has crafty, unpredictable handles and is an explosive athlete for a lead guard. He showed up big time in last season’s playoffs, and when the chips are on the line, he has proved he can be at least a semi-reliable player.

The problem with Rozier is when he gets the keys to the offense, unchecked by his teammates and coach, Brad Stevens. After Rozier’s performance following Kyrie Irving going down for the rest of last season, Rozier earned a world of confidence from Stevens, as well as president of basketball operations Danny Ainge.

But this season is not last season. The Celtics are not in a situation where Rozier’s bold style of playmaking is needed when they have Irving who can do it at a much higher level. Also, Marcus Smart and Gordon Hayward have proved all year long that they are superior playmakers, not to mention Al Horford‘s passing out of the frontcourt and the strides made by Jayson Tatum, as well.

Rozier’s incessant dribbling around and shoot at will mentality hurt the team more than it helps. That’s the trade off with him. He’ll make big plays and has the capacity to do some truly outstanding things on the basketball court, they just have to be done his way, which doesn’t always (rarely) fit with what Boston needs.

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Where the Celtics really could benefit from a player like this is in a situation where rotations tighten up, and there are multiple playmakers on the court at once. Rozier has had free reign to run the second unit offense all year; that won’t happen in the playoffs, as Hayward’s passiveness seems to be wearing out as his confidence raises with the postseason nearing. Also, there really won’t be a second unit, as there is almost no way the Celtics have five backups on the court at once in the playoffs.

There is simply no way Rozier will be the primary ball handler/playmaker on a floor he shares with any combination of Irving/Smart/Hayward/Horford. That’s not the best use of Rozier, and it certainly is not the best use of his teammates.

When next to Boston’s best playmakers, the game opens up a whole world for Rozier. His athleticism and finishing touch always make him a threat in the paint, and with Al Horford spacing the floor and drawing paint protectors out of their comfort zone, Rozier has easy lanes to work with. With his teammates passing abilities, Rozier can also operate as a more traditional spot-up shooter, running around screens and firing away on all the open looks created for him.

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That’s how Rozier can help the Boston Celtics in the playoffs, not by changing his game entirely, but by embracing the parts of his game that make him unique and his coaches and teammates putting him in a position where he can use his skillset effectively. He can be a beacon of inefficiency if he is left unchecked offensively, but his talent could be of big use in the dog fight that will be the Eastern Conference playoffs.