With the 16th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics selected Terry Rozier. Though he did not exactly enter the league with hefty expectations, he performed well in draft workouts and with trainer Cody Toppert, who even compared him to Damian Lillard.
Rozier is a shifty ball-handler with a quick first step. Once he does have his defender beat, he has a relatively extensive array of lay-ups, tear drops and runners around the hoop to get his shot off among the trees.
Though not an elite play-maker, Rozier does have above average court vision and is known for his accurate alley-oop lobs. As a score first point guard, his passing flows from any gravity he has created as a scoring threat, finding the open man for the easy basket.
This is a legitimate criticism of his game if one prefers the style of a traditional pass first point guard. It is this trait that makes him better suited as a back-up point guard that provides a scoring punch for the second unit, a la Lou Williams or Jamal Crawford.
Rozier is hardly a lock-down defender but he does have good defensive instincts and is an average team defender – often disrupting passing lanes or swiping the ball from poor ball handlers. This is not to say that Rozier is a defensive liability, but he is definitely not guarding the best players on opposing teams.
Offensively one of his biggest assets is his ever improving three point shot. His efficiency has improved as his volume has increased, an extremely encouraging sign. Rozier gets most of his three point shots off either from catch and shoot opportunities or pulling up on a sagging defender.
Intuitively, it would seem that his ball-handling prowess would enable him to shoot more three pointers off the dribble, but he has not shown much of an inclination for this shot type. Though this could certainly change.
Rarely mentioned about his game is his above average aptitude for timing blocks. As an undersized point guard in a league of giants, he will never rack up a significant number of blocks, but he has shown an affinity for timing blocks both on the weak side and on his own defender.
So, just how good is Scary Terry? His scoring numbers will tend to overrate him somewhat. This is partially not his fault. As previously noted, undersized scoring guards struggle in the league to be true impact players.
Allen Iverson is ultimate measuring stick for what an undersized point guard can accomplish in the NBA and he was never good enough to be the best player on a championship team. Though he came fairly close.
The point guard position is such a crucial role for any team that a one-dimensional, score first, undersized point guard is of limited utility to a team with championship aspirations.
Rather than being relied on for scoring, a player like Rozier is best utilized in a Bobby Jackson like role, coming off the bench and either further exhausting the other team’s starting line-up or running up the score on their second unit.
Terry Rozier is certainly a talented point guard in this league but is not quite at an All-Star level and likely will never be. Most teams would benefit from having a piece like Rozier on their squad, but he is not a game changer.
His current role with the Charlotte Hornets will certainly highlight his talents, but also showcase his limitations just as easily.
With the right pieces already in place, Rozier can certainly be a difference make that puts a team over the top, but he is not sufficiently impactful to be a “must have”.
Clint is an avid fan of the Los Angeles Lakers, and contributed to various sports publications prior to his work with Upside Hoops.