As we discussed in the Rookie Week article, the first-year players on this team haven't had a lot of opportunities to play this year. Brad Stevens rightly decided to shorten his rotation and leave the rookies (and James Young) to learn by watching and getting some run with the Maine Red Claws.
However, each of the rookies has had brief opportunities to contribute in non-garbage-time minutes. Injuries, foul trouble, and matchups occasionally create a need for the young guys to step up and help. Recently Jordan Mickey was used to match Utah's athleticism. Early in the year R.J. Hunter was being used to stretch the floor. On Friday Terry Rozier came in and helped in an unexpected way: by rebounding from the guard position.
Celtics rookie Terry Rozier leaps at opportunity to showcase talents - Boston Celtics Blog- ESPN
Rozier, the 16th overall pick in 2015 who will celebrate his 22nd birthday next week, hasn't played consistent minutes since late November when Marcus Smart went out with a knee injury. But thrust into Friday's game against the Rockets with Boston forced to go small and Jae Crowder sidelined by an ankle sprain, Rozier responded with 10 quality minutes in which he grabbed seven rebounds (three offensive, four defensive) and made a 3-point shot.
It isn't easy staying sharp when you don't get playing time. But Rozier and his mates are soaking up whatever they can and working hard on their craft in the background.
Green Street " Terry Rozier gets his chance to prove doubters wrong: ‘A lot of people doubt me since I’ve been here’
"Just stayed in the gym. A lot of people doubt me since I’ve been here. I don’t even want to get into that but just stay ready," Rozier said. "Just stay in the gym. I’ve got a good group of guys around me that help me stay ready so with them, the coaches and me being the gym a lot, it just built my confidence up a lot."
It would be easy to get discouraged about the lack of playing time. Seeing other rookies around the league shine in bigger roles can't help much. But it sounds like Terry has the right perspective on things. All things considered, he'd rather be right where he is.
Bulpett: Terry Rozier makes big impression off bench | Boston Herald
"I’d rather have it this way, and I’m not just saying that. I’m learning a lot," said Rozier. "I like to learn by seeing things. I can watch IT (Isaiah Thomas), watch Avery (Bradley) and watch them do what they do night in-night out. And when my time comes, I can just try to do what I can do and add to this team. "Like I said, I wouldn’t want it no other way. These guys are great."
Rozier is obviously still a work in progress, and there's no telling what his long term role will be with this team. But he's got talent, and he seems to have a good attitude. Here's hoping for the best for the young fella.