Kyrie Irving’s injury last season became a blessing in disguise for Terry Rozier. With Irving on the sideline, Boston Celtics Head Coach Brad Stevens gave Rozier the opportunity to shine by making him their temporary starting point guard. In the 19 postseason games he played as the Celtics starter, the 25-year-old point guard proved that he’s ready for a bigger role after averaging 16.5 points, 5.7 assists, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.3 steals on 40.6 percent shooting from the field and 34.7 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
Unfortunately, just when everyone thought that Terry Rozier’s rise to stardom has finally started, he was forced to return to his usual role when Kyrie Irving returned in the 2018-19 NBA season. With the limited playing time he’s receiving, it’s not a surprise that Rozier’s statistics dropped compared to last season. In a recent interview with Jackie MacMullan of ESPN, the former No. 16 overall pick said that Irving’s return forced him to go “from the passenger seat to the trunk.”
“I felt like I went from the passenger seat to the trunk,” Rozier said.
“Everybody tells you, ‘Don’t think about the contract, don’t think about the money.’ I always tell myself, ‘I’ll get what I deserve one day. Maybe not this day, but one day.'”
Celtics shooting guard Jaylen Brown shared the same sentiment as Terry Rozier, saying that he needed to make a huge adjustment with his game when Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward rejoined the team.
“You come to realize you shouldn’t compare yourself to others and their situations,” Brown said.
“I started focusing on me. I tried not to let my emotions control me. That was hard sometimes, because the media puts so much pressure on us. They blow things out of proportion and people run with it.”
Terry Rozier on Celtics locker room: 'We're together. Not like before' https://t.co/Hx5eqhgzY3— The Celtics Wire (@TheCelticsWire) May 4, 2019
However, Jaylen Brown’s situation is somewhat different from Terry Rozier. While Brown is under contract with the Celtics for the next two years, Rozier will be hitting the free agency market after the 2018-19 NBA season. As a restricted free agent, the Celtics only need to match offers from other NBA teams to bring Rozier back.
Unfortunately, as much as he loves to stay in Boston, Terry Rozier is unlikely to be the Celtics’ top priority in the 2019 NBA offseason where Kyrie Irving will also become an unrestricted free agent. With the amount of money they gave to Marcus Smart last summer, the Celtics aren’t expected to use a huge chunk of their salary cap space to re-sign another backup point guard. As of now, the only way the Celtics will consider bringing Rozier back is if Irving signs with another team in the 2019 NBA free agency.