Boston Celtics: Terry Rozier might be playing his way out of Boston

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 31: Terry Rozier
BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 31: Terry Rozier /

Terry Rozier has evolved

With superstar Kyrie Irving sidelined with another injury, the Boston Celtics turned to Terry Rozier to step up and start in his place against a struggling New York Knicks team.

Boy did he respond.

Rozier finished his first career start in impressive fashion, recording 17 points, 10 assists and 11 rebounds on 43 percent shooting. He also shot 50% from beyond the arc in the win.

“I thought he played great, and, you know, he just made the right basketball play,” coach Stevens told media after the game. “He did a couple of things that he hasn’t done before with regard to the lob and a couple of the looks that he made, I thought, really quickly. He’s done them before but he made them very, very consistently tonight.”

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Irving remained sidelined thanks to the hamstring injury that kept him out of the Knick game the following day against the Atlanta Hawks.

Rozier, once again stepped up.

With 31 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 assists in his second career start, Rozier showed the NBA world that he has the chops to lead a starting unit, and that perhaps his days with the Boston Celtics are numbered.

Rozier, although not as efficient against the superstar backcourt of Lilliard and McCullum, did make his presence felt with a huge shot to give the Celtics a 2 point lead with 13.6 remaining on Sunday.

The Celtics ended up winning that game on an Al Horford buzzer beater, and Rozier’s confidence as a starter continues to grow.

Why the Celtics should keep Terry

Rozier, although young, has shown that he is capable of scoring and being an effective member of the Celtics. His young career has shown tremendous upside, and he is the leader of a second unit that would be lost without his offensive production.

There are reports coming out that the Celtics would not oppose trading Marcus Smart for a first round pick, making Rozier the primary beneficiary in that situation.

Rozier’s impeccable playing as a starter has probably garnered the attention of numerous teams around the association, but the Celtics should try their hardest to keep Terry around and making him a potential sixth man moving forward.

Why it might be tough to keep him

We continue to downplay the debate that is Marcus Smart vs Terry Rozier, and while Terry does bring some great qualities to a team, so does Smart.

And the thing with Smart is, he might be cheaper to retain.

This was the year when Marcus Smart was supposed to really blossom and show everyone why he deserved a big pay-day. The results, however have been less than ideal.

Smart has been practically the same exact player he was last year statistically, according to Basketball Reference, and his percentages continue to be putrid for a guy that will probably be asking for a big pay raise.

We’ve outlined how the team will likely handle Marcus’ contract, noting that all the little things he does might be worth paying slightly extra for. This, however, would mean the Celtics have little money to play with when it comes to Terry Rozier’s impending free agency next year.

Consider, instead, moving Terry for a guy like Lou Williams, who can bring some instant shooting to an already bolstered bench. Williams would also bring some great experience and a veteran presence to an already playoff-bound team.

The combination of Greg Monroe and Lou Williams would make things a living hell for second units everywhere. Monroe, as we noted before, is a great addition to an already stacked bench.

Williams, however, would instantly make the Celtics favorites to win the East.

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And we know anything is possible once we get to the Big Dance.