Terry Rozier says he’s ‘happy,’ despite report about playing time frustrations
PHOENIX — When Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward were re-added to a group that nearly reached the NBA Finals last season, it was obvious that Celtics coach Brad Stevens would face challenges as he tried to distribute playing time among so many capable players.
On Wednesday, The Ringer reported that backup point guard Terry Rozier was unhappy with his playing time, and that many around the league believed Boston would have to trade him.
But on Thursday, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said during his weekly appearance on The Sports Hub that Rozier had not expressed any frustrations about playing time to him, and Rozier later affirmed it.
“What Danny said makes sense, because he knows me,” Rozier said. “If you don’t know me, then you probably think I’d say something like that . . . I’m happy to be in this position where I’m at, to be playing on a team that’s mentioned to have a chance to be in the championship, so I’m not really worried what’s being said. But Danny knows. And that’s why he said what he said.”
After Irving was lost for the season after undergoing knee surgery in the spring, Rozier stepped in and starred as his replacement, particularly in the playoffs. But after averaging 36.6 minutes per game in the postseason, Rozier is averaging just 22.7 this year. Rozier acknowledged that it has not been easy, but he also made it clear that he understood the situation.
“I’m not complaining, and if you know me, I would never go to the media or bring out the unhappy thing,” he said. “I would never do that. Like I said, people who know me know I wouldn’t do that. I’ve never been a selfish type of person, selfish player. You can tell the way I play I’m all about team, we, everything. Everything will be all right. It’s not as bad as people make it seem.”
Rozier entered Thursday’s game against the Suns averaging 7.5 points and 4.4 rebounds per game while shooting just 35.5 percent from the field. He said that after a practice this week, Stevens talked to him about pressing too much. Stevens, for one, said he is not concerned about Rozier’s play.
“I mean it’s probably the most predictable thing in the world, that a guy that’s going to play a little bit less is, when he gets onto the court, going to try to find spots quickly,” Stevens said. “ And that’s one of the great things about Terry. He’s competitive, he’s tough, he wants to impact the game, and sometimes when you’re playing less you figure the best way to do that is be ultra-aggressive right out of the gate instead of letting the game and the easy play come to you. That’s something that’s hard to adjust to and I think anybody would be struggling to adjust to. So I’m not surprised at all that that’s part of it and also one of the reasons why I’m not going to stop playing him the way he’s playing. He’ll get through this and he’ll be great, because of who he is.”