Kyrie Irving’s knee injury was disastrous for the Celtics. It will likely take them out of the contention for a NBA Finals berth in a wide open Eastern Conference. But one positive from Irving’s absence is that the Celtics’ younger players are getting an opportunity to fill the void.
Much of the attention so far has fallen on Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, who have impressed in Boston’s first two victories over the Bucks. Brown was the star of Game 2, dropping 30 points to pace the Celtics.
But the emergence of Terry Rozier, whose benefitted most heavily from Irving’s and Marcus Smart’s absences, is another big story worth recognizing.
Rozier’s play has been trending upwards ever since his rookie campaign in 2015. He was a raw offensive player out of Louisville and barely got off the bench during his first season. The No. 16 overall pick in the 2015 draft only appeared in 39 games, spending most of his time sitting behind Isaiah Thomas.
Last season, Rozier, who was always heralded as a tenacious defender, began to develop his offensive game a little bit more. He averaged 5.5 points in 17 minutes per contest, while shooting 31.8 percent from three-point land.
This year, the growth has been phenomenal. Rosier averaged 11.3 points per game off the bench and shot 38.1 percent from beyond the arc. He also started 16 games, giving him plenty of practice for the playoff moment that he’s now seizing.
To say the least, Rozier is dominating his matchup against Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe, even if the veteran makes believe he doesn’t know his tormentor’s identity. In two games, Rozier is averaging 23 points and 5.5 assists on 46.9 percent shooting. He also hasn’t turned over the ball once.
Terry Rozier completely loses Eric Bledsoe for the likely game-winner. pic.twitter.com/bE6I7uJ6np
— RealGM (@RealGM) April 15, 2018
Bledsoe, contrastingly, has been a non-factor. He’s averaging 10.5 points on 36 percent shooting and four assists per night against Rozier’s stout defense.
Brown and Tatum have positioned themselves to be superstars in the coming years. But every championship contender needs valuable role-players. With one year remaining on his contract, Rozier is poised to be a big contributor for the Celtics once they get Irving and Gordon Hayward back. His growth may not be accelerating if they were around right now.
Full article @ Terry Rozier’s emergence one bright spot to Kyrie Irving injury
Source: GreenStreet Blog