Terry Rozier

Finding minutes for everyone will again be a challenge for Celtics

Finding minutes for everyone will again be a challenge for Celtics

BOSTON – If there’s one thing Brad Stevens has been consistent about since coming to Boston, it's that players aren’t given minutes – they earn them.
 
But there have been times when players have seemingly done enough to warrant more time on the court, but matchups for a particular game or Stevens’ gut/instincts/spidey sense - whatever you want to call it – tell him to go in a different direction.

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Getting minutes on the court will always be a battle, but the fight for floor time will be unlike anything we’ve seen in the Brad Stevens Era.
 
And while on the surface that sounds like a good thing, right?
 
It will be, depending on whether the individuals who constitute this roster come in with a similar mindset compared to previous Stevens-coached teams with players who know that their role, much like their minutes, will fluctuate as the season progresses.
 
Aron Baynes is one of those players whose minutes may depend heavily on the opponent.
 
At 6-foot-10, 260 pounds, Baynes is a physical player who you know is on the floor to provide defense and rebounding – two things the Celtics wanted to add in the offseason in their frontcourt.
 
But if teams go uber-small, as they tend to do more of these days, it’ll cut back on the opportunities Baynes gets to play, which is why he opted out of his final year in Detroit to become a free agent and ultimately signed with the Celtics for about $2 million less.
 
“I definitely think being in the NBA, everybody always wants to play more,” Baynes said. “I think if you don’t want to play more, well then you’re not in the right spot.  So yeah, excited for the opportunity and hopefully I can go out there and earn some minutes and yeah, we’ll see if what I bring is what Brad wants. So yeah, I’m hoping it is and looking forward to it.”
 
Similar challenges will arise for just about every Celtic, knowing only three players – Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford and newcomer Gordon Hayward – are pretty much locked into playing major minutes.
 
The Celtics have two open starting jobs after shooting guard Avery Bradley was traded to Detroit and forward/center Amir Johnson signed a one-year, $11 million deal with Philadelphia.
 
Simple right?
 
Nope.
 
Not even close.
 
The Celtics could slide Thomas over to the off-guard position and start Marcus Smart (who plays starter-like minutes anyway coming off the bench) at the point, or potentially have Terry Rozier or newcomer Shane Larkin whose agent told CSNNE.com that the Celtics had signed him to a one-year deal, join Thomas in the starting backcourt.
 
Boston’s options in the frontcourt seem endless when you consider they can go big with Baynes or rookie Ante Zizic at center to pair with Horford, or they can go down the big man spectrum with a first five that up front may include Jae Crowder, Jaylen Brown or Marcus Morris.

And we're not even talking about the bench, which will give Stevens more options and flexibility - in terms of how he wants to play stylistically - than he has ever had before in Boston.
 
“They’re going to be interesting to watch this season,” an Eastern Conference scout texted CSNNE.com. “We know they have some really good players, but how will it all come together? Forget Cleveland. Chemistry is going to be their biggest challenger this season because they have so many different players with different skills that they can turn to.”

Terry Rozier aware he needs to step up with departure of 'great mentor' Avery Bradley

Terry Rozier aware he needs to step up with departure of 'great mentor' Avery Bradley

LAS VEGAS – Boston trading Avery Bradley to Detroit was part of the collateral damage the Celtics had to accept in order to get Gordon Hayward.

But there’s another silver lining for the Celtics – Terry Rozier.

Bradley’s departure likely means a more prominent role for Rozier who will be entering his third NBA season – all with the Celtics.

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With trade rumors swirling all summer, Rozier admits it hasn’t been easy to not think about how different the Celtics will look this upcoming season.

“I’ve been trying to keep my mind off of that, and just try to stay in the gym but it’s tough,” said Rozier who was in attendance for Boston’s summer league game on Saturday against the Los Angeles Lakers. “Naturally you see things pop up, all the things happening around the league. It’s interesting.”

Especially for Rozier who is looking to build off a strong showing in the postseason.

His scoring average (5.6) in the playoffs was almost identical to what he did during the regular season (5.5), but he improved his shooting in the postseason to 40.7 percent compared to his regular season numbers (36.7 percent).

Rozier is well aware how the departure of his mentor, Bradley, has the potential for him to play more than the 17.1 minutes per game he played last season.

“I’m pretty sure I’ll have to step up and play more minutes,” Rozier said.

And Rozier’s success will in part be because of Bradley’s influence.

“I got to talk to him today,” Rozier said. “People don’t know, Avery’s like the president. It’s tough to get in contact with him.

Rozier added, “He was a guy I really looked up to. He helped me, not just with things on the court, but off the court like always telling me to save money. He’s just a great mentor, a great guy.”

When asked if Bradley imparted in last-second advice or wisdom, Rozier said Bradley told him that, ‘“we’re always going to be family no matter what, no matter same team or not.’”

Report: Ainge hints at more Celtics moves - 'We're not comfortable yet'

Report: Ainge hints at more Celtics moves - 'We're not comfortable yet'

After a whirlwind week that saw Gordon Hayward and Marcus Morris brought in and Kelly Olynyk and Avery Bradley shipped out, Danny Ainge let it be known that the Celtics aren't done.

"We're not comfortable yet," the C's president of basketball operations told Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald. "We do like our team, but we’re still going to search things out to see if we can find anything that makes us better this offseason.”

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Also included in the past week, according to multiple reports, was an effort to send forward Jae Crowder to the Utah Jazz as part of a sign-and-trade deal to fit Hayward's four-year, $128 million contract under the salary cap. Now, it appears Crowder is sticking around.

“Jae is a big part of what we’re doing,” Ainge told Bulpett. “I mean, he was our best 3-point shooter last year, and he defends some of the top players in the league. Jae’s a very important player for us going forward.”

With the departure of Bradley, look for more playing time for young guards Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier. A veteran guard, possibly Jamal Crawford, just bought out by the Atlanta Hawks, could be added. Ainge singled out Rozier after seeing him in Boston recently. 

“I’m really impressed with Terry,” Ainge said. “He came in and worked out a couple of days in Boston, and he looked really, really good. He looked better than he even did in the playoffs for us. I think Terry has a very bright future. I’m very excited about him.”

Could the area where the Celtics are searching include rebounding? Ainge said he's confident they'll get some of that from young forwards Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, the No. 3 overall picks in the past two drafts, and that big men Ante Zizic and Guerchon Yabusele, who each played overseas this past season, "have a chance to add to our rebounding."

“But so do I think, Jaylen [Brown] and Jayson Tatum. I think both of those guys are outstanding rebounders," Ainge said. "You know, everyone just assumes rebounding is you go get a center who can rebound and then all your problems are solved. That certainly can help, but a lot of times that creates problems on the other end, unless that guy is really, really skilled. Then you have Shaquille O’Neal or Wilt Chamberlain."