Terry Rozier took the basketball world by storm last season in the Boston Celtics’ march to the Eastern Conference finals, but the start of the 2018-19 campaign has brought the fourth-year guard back down to earth.
Rozier largely has received the short end of the stick for the C’s this season, as the team’s loaded roster has prompted a decrease in the 24-year-old’s playing time. Rozier currently is averaging 22.5 minutes per game, good for eighth-most on the club.
Time on the court isn’t the only thing that’s dipped for Rozier, as his overall production has seen a decline as well. He’s averaging just 7.7 points per game while owning a 35.7 field goal percentage, which, if the season ended today, would be his lowest mark since his rookie season.
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens certainly knows what Rozier is capable of, but he’s also not totally surprised by the versatile guard’s early-season struggles.
“I mean it’s probably the most predictable thing in the world, that a guy that’s going to play a little bit less is, when he gets onto the court, going to try to find spots quickly,” Stevens told The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach. “And that’s one of the great things about Terry. He’s competitive, he’s tough, he wants to impact the game, and sometimes when you’re playing less you figure the best way to do that is be ultra-aggressive right out of the gate instead of letting the game and the easy play come to you. That’s something that’s hard to adjust to and I think anybody would be struggling to adjust to. So I’m not surprised at all that that’s part of it and also one of the reasons why I’m not going to stop playing him the way he’s playing. He’ll get through this and he’ll be great, because of who he is.”
Rozier’s diminished playing time sparked rumors that he was unhappy with his current situation, as well as speculation that Boston could look to move the Louisville product. Rozier quickly threw cold water on this chatter, though, and a new report indicated that it’s “extremely unlikely” Boston trades him this season.
The fact of the matter is, Rozier isn’t alone in his slow start to the campaign. Boston has yet to meet its high expectations, as it’s clearly going to take some time for the C’s to figure out the best way to utilize their slew of high-end talent. And when things start to come together for the Celtics, the rest of the league will have their hands full.
Thumbnail photo via Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY Sports