Celtics spotlight: Terry Rozier shines in win over Knicks

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 3: Terry Rozier
BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 3: Terry Rozier /

Kyrie who? Terry Rozier stepped up big last night with a triple-double in a 30-point Celtics victory against the Knicks.

When the Boston Celtics drafted Terry Rozier with their 16th pick in 2015, they took a risk. Rozier was not projected to go until later in the first round or maybe even the second.

As told by this article, many fans were unhappy with the gamble. The team already had Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Smart, and Avery Bradley to play guard. Many thought Danny Ainge had wasted another pick on a player the Celtics already had.

But a few years down the road, that pick is paying off. Rozier was due for a breakout game and last night he got a chance.

The First Start

A few hours before tipoff, news broke that Kyrie Irving would miss that night’s Boston Celtics game against the Knicks. Kyrie’s usual fill-in, Marcus Smart, was also out with an injury. That meant it was time for Rozier, now in his third year, to finally get his first career start. Or, if you’re Brad Stevens, you just say, “Terry, you’re starting”.

When the team needs a jolt, Rozier makes plays with the second unit. On the second night of a back-to-back, Rozier comes in and wakes everyone up with his energy. When the Celtics are having trouble rebounding, it’s Rozier who comes in and gets involved with the tree trunks down low.

Nothing was different on Wednesday. Terry was able to show off these skills in a much expanded role. In his first start, he had a triple-double (17-11-10) and was the clear reason why the Celtics were able to win without Kyrie Irving.

All night, Rozier looked like a 10-year veteran. He controlled the offense with Al Horford and looked like a quality point guard. Albeit against the Knicks, Terry showed flashes last night.

It looks like our little boy is growing up right before our eyes. Ever since last year, many others and myself thought Terry Rozier would be a starting point guard in the league one day. If he keeps playing like that, there is no question the opportunity will come.

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Proving the haters wrong

If Danny Ainge wasn’t the general manager, he could have gotten this chance. Ever since Rozier was a member of the Celtics, he was involved in trade rumors. Terry was on the long list of assets that the Celtics obtained over the years.

I can remember Rozier being treated as a thrown in for a countless number of trades. There were plenty of situations where he could start for a bad team. Remember when Rozier was rumored in deals for Nerlens Noel, DeMarcus Cousins, and Paul George? He could be a starting point guard for Sacramento, Philadelpia, or Indiana right now.

Danny Ainge got a lot of slack for keeping Terry Rozier over acquiring a superstar. It even became a running joke between Celtics fans. “Would the Celtics be willing to part ways with Rozier for Anthony Davis?” or “Terry Rozier for Kevin Durant straight up, who says no?”

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Still, Ainge held on to the flyer he took back in 2015. Rozier is a vital part of the Celtics and could play a huge role in the future. Marcus Smart is a restricted free agent after this year. Rozier himself will be a restricted free agent in two years. Whether he stays or not, TerryRozier is going to force the Boston Celtics to make a decision. It’s a good problem to have.