Despite losing Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward to season-ending injuries, the Boston Celtics still managed to establish an impressive season, reaching the Eastern Conference finals and almost defeating LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in a best-of-seven series. Now that both superstars are 100 percent healthy, the Celtics are emerging as the favorite to run through the Eastern Conference and get to the finals in the upcoming 2018-19 NBA season.
However, before the seasons starts, Celtics Head Coach Brad Stevens will be needing to make a tough decision regarding his rotation. With Kyrie Irving expected to reclaim his spot in the starting lineup, Terry Rozier and Marcus Smart are set to compete for the role as the primary backup point guard.
In Boston.com‘s Sports Q, Chad Finn answered a question regarding who is more important for the Celtics between the two guards. Finn believes Marcus Smart is more valuable for the Celtics than Terry Rozier.
“To me, it’s Smart, just because his defense is game-changing, often against excellent players. (See the James Harden meltdown in the Celtics’ win over the Rockets last season). He gives them a palpable physical edge, and his determination seems to have affect the whole team in a positive way. I don’t think a lot of fans who get frustrated (rightfully) with his shooting recognize how important it was to re-sign him. Intangibles are exaggerated sometimes to justify praise of a player whose statistics aren’t exceptional. Smart’s intangible are real in a K.C. Jones/Don Chaney kind of way.”
— Boston.com Celtics News (@BDCCeltics) September 27, 2018
Marcus Smart’s statistics may not be as good as other NBA superstars, but no one can deny the fact that the 24-year-old point guard played a major role in the Celtics’ success during the last four years. For Finn, the only way Terry Rozier will be more valuable than Smart is if Kyrie Irving goes down with another injury. Last season, Rozier showed his capability as a starter, averaging 16.5 points, 5.7 assists, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.3 steals on 40.6 percent shooting from the field and 34.7 percent from beyond the arc in the 19 games he played in the Eastern Conference Playoffs.
With the presence of Kyrie Irving and Marcus Smart, Boston is no longer an ideal place to stay for Terry Rozier. If he wants to continue to make a name in the league and speed up his development into becoming a legitimate NBA superstar, it will be best for him to be on a team who can give him more playing time and a permanent starting role.