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    Photo courtesy University of Louisville Men's Basketball Facebook Page
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    If the NBA Summer League is any indication, Terry Rozier looks ready for big-boy basketball.

    The Boston Celtics surprised many when they drafted the 6-foot guard, who came out after his breakout sophomore season at the University of Louisville, with the No. 16 pick in last month’s NBA Draft.

    Rozier, though, played well for the C’s in the NBA’s summer leagues in Utah and Las Vegas. He averaged 12.2 points, 3.9 assists and three rebounds in eight games (seven of which he started) for Boston, which went 5-3.

    UofL coach Rick Pitino often praised Rozier’s work ethic and his business-like approach to the game and apparently the combo guard, who averaged 17.1 points, 5.6 rebounds and three assists per game last season for the Cardinals, impressed Celtics' President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge with similar qualities in pre-draft workouts. That’s why Ainge picked Rozier, who many had projected as the penultimate pick of the first round, in the middle of the first round.

    At times in Salt Lake City and Vegas, Rozier appeared ready to live up to the lofty expectations that come with being a near-lottery pick. Against Philadelphia on July 12 he tallied 22 points and dished out five assists in the Celtics’ 85-76 win. He also had a 16-point, seven-assist game in a Boston win over San Antonio, and fellow former Card Wayne Blackshear, in Utah.

    However Rozier, like any rookie, did have his struggles too. He shot just 35.4 percent from the field in eight games. Against the Spurs in the Vegas tournament, he had only six points (on 2 of 12 shooting), but did bury a corner 3-pointer (he shot a respectable 38.6 percent from beyond the arc) in the final seconds to tie the game. Unfortunately for Rozier and the C’s, though, Shannon Scott hit a runner at the buzzer to give the Becky Hammon-coached Spurs the win on their way to the summer league title.

    Rozier did prove adept at getting to the free throw line and converting there, shooting 30 for 36 (82 percent).

    Rozier’s defense and ability to get to the foul line alone should be good enough to earn him some playing time for Boston next season.

    Rozier should be the second guard off Brad Stevens' bench. Marcus Smart is the projected starting point guard next season for Boston, which started a three-guard lineup that also included Avery Bradley and Evan Turner in last year’s first-round playoff series loss to Cleveland. Diminutive guard Isaiah Thomas - who finished second in the voting for the Sixth Man of the Year Award last season - will be Boston’s first player off the bench. Rozier will then likely take the minutes vacated by Phil Pressey, the 5-11 guard who was let go by the C’s this summer. Pressey averaged 12 minutes, 3.5 points and 2.3 assists in 50 games last season.

    Although Rozier hasn’t signed his rookie contract yet, it’s just a matter of time. And if the summer league is any indication, time is something Rozier should get plenty of on the court next season for the Celtics.  

    Postscript: Rozier's signing was officially announced by the Celtics on July 27.  

    Photo courtesy University of Louisville Men's Basketball Facebook Page


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