2019-20 Breakout Player Series: Terry Rozier
Signing Terry Rozier to a three year, $58 million contract this summer was an odd move for the Charlotte Hornets. The team was at risk of losing All-Star point guard for nothing, but inking Rozier to such a lucrative deal could be detrimental in its own right.
Rozier’s time with the Celtics was tumultuous. During the 2018 postseason, he filled in admirably for an injured Kyrie Irving. More recently, however, Rozier’s consistency and flexibility faltered during Boston’s tumultuous 2018-19 campaign.
Still, there was a competitive market for Rozier this offseason, and a few teams considered taking a flier on the Louisville product. Charlotte’s generous offer helped land T-Ro in a Hornets uniform, but according to Bleacher Report, it was team owner Michael Jordan’s enthusiasm that really got the deal done.
"I look at it as just a team, organization believing in me.” Rozier said. Knowing that I want to prove myself in this league and giving me that chance is bigger than anything and [their willingness] to pay me a right amount of money, it was just big and the guy that was behind all that was Michael Jordan. It's still surreal to me."
It isn’t just His Airness who believes in Rozier. Hornets head coach James Borrego recently explained that he will lean on his new point guard out of the gate.
“I expect Terry to lead,” Borrego said. “And sometimes that is just his effort on the floor, how he comes to work every day. This is a kid who does work hard, and we need him to step up as a leader.”
Charlotte has invested a lot to bring Rozier aboard. In short, they need a break out season from Scary Terry.
Rozier can be an explosive scorer. He’s been a reliable three-point shooter during his four seasons in the NBA. He’s a scrappy defender, pretty effective on the glass, and is a decent distributor, too. The early returns during the pre-season have been intriguing.
That said, Rozier’s issues with consistency are compounded by mostly inefficient play. He’s a career 40.4 percent shooter from inside the three-point line, which is, well, not very good. Made worse is the fact that Rozier is a streaky player, and usually needs to have the ball in his hand to be effective.
Fortunately, Rozier figures to start for a Hornets team that heavily relies on the point guard position to generate offense. And filling Kemba Walker’s shoes might not be such a tall order. Walker is an established, well-respected star in this league. Yet he and the Hornets never really got over the hump during his time in Queen City.
Charlotte doesn’t figure to be very competitive this coming season. The team would benefit from a real shake-up, and could be serious sellers if the trade market heats up this season. Rozier could become the quintessential Good Stats-Bad Team player. He figures to fill out the stat sheet every night, even if his team doesn’t rack up many wins.
Rozier could average north of 20 points per game, while also holding his own rebounding and distributing the ball. The stakes are low for the Hornets, which should give Scary Terry the green light to put the hammer down and see what he can do.