In Monday’s disappointing 93-90 loss to the Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics guard Terry Rozier played just 15 minutes — a number that hammered home how deep the Celtics are.
An NBA game, after all, only has 240 minutes available, and most starters play 30 minutes or more. On a team with at least eight starting-quality players, and plenty of role players who need minutes, a good player is going to be left out.
Rozier appeared a little frustrated and conceded the cuts to his playing time haven’t been easy. But he said he understands why they are necessary.
“We got a lot of talent on this team, and coach does his best at trying to switch up guys at who he want out there,” Rozier said. “It’s not easy. We got a lot of guys that can play, and we’ve only been together for a month. So that might take a little process for that to happen, but us being who we are, when you look at the media, when you look at other stuff, we want to be good right now because we got all this hype. When we have games like last night and lose, it’s frustrating. We can look at so many things, but we want to be good right now. It might take some time, but we have to play harder. We had a great hard practice today, and that’s what practice has got to be, that’s what the game has got to be. We can control that, we can’t control who is out there and stuff like that, and how coach subs.”
Boston’s offense has been isolation-heavy through the first four games, as players try to exploit mismatches created from switches. The Celtics have the personnel to be effective in that type of offense on paper, but in practice, the strategy is yet to look good.
“I just feel like we have to worry about the team’s best shot, instead of individually, guys’ shots,” Rozier said. “I think it could be everybody caught up in that. … Once we get over that and worry about the team’s shot instead of my best shot, we’ll be fine.”
Rozier is right, of course — if the Celtics are going to function, it will be as a unit. They have a lot of stars, but no A-1 top-three superstar who can lift them every single night.
Teams have won championships with that set-up before (in fact, the Celtics have won championships with that set-up as recently as 2008), but getting every player to buy in to a more selfless brand of basketball isn’t easy. Everyone has to be okay with the fact that sometimes, there will be night’s like the one Rozier experienced on Monday — when the team is floundering, and you are only granted 15 minutes to change their fortunes.
“It’s not the easiest,” Rozier said. “Me being a competitor, me being who I am, wake up every day and want to be the best I can be. Want to win and everything, it’s tough when I don’t get the minutes that I may want, like last night for example. I didn’t play that many minutes, but like I said, Coach does not have the easiest job. He has the toughest job out of all of us. I can respect that. I control what I control. I still come in every day, bust my butt because I know it may be different on Thursday.”