Terry Rozier got a surprising boost of confidence from an injured Kyrie Irving as the Boston Celtics readied to make a postseason run without their two best stars on the roster. The Celtics were also still missing defensive ace and de facto point guard Marcus Smart, who was also out with an injury, putting Rozier in the driver's seat for a start at the controls.
The man known as “Scary Terry” didn't forget how he was approached by Irving during his own practice session, giving him the confidence he needed to go into the playoffs head-on.
“I remember when Kyrie went down, I was in the gym shooting by myself,” Rozier told Clay Skipper of GQ. “This was probably a couple hours before practice or something. I just remember him telling me—looking me in my eyes, you can just tell it came from the heart—he was just like, “You ready?” Like: You're just as good as those guys. Don't think for a second that you're not. Don't take a back seat to no one. You gotta play the top guards if the playoff runs happen. He’s not saying all this but I know this is what he’s thinking. Be ready. Don't think too much. Just go out there and have fun. This is what you want.”
The Celtics would go on a deep postseason run, falling one game shy of the NBA Finals after losing a close Game 7 to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Yet the playoff experience did wonders for Rozier, who has now put his name out there as one of the up-and-coming talents in this league.
“I'm happy I got the opportunity,” Rozier added. “At the same time, I got a feeling for Kyrie. Everybody was counting us out. Teams were trying to lose on purpose to play us, to drop to seven seed to play us. It's just like, the whole world is watching now. When opportunity come knocking at the door, you gotta answer.”
The Celtics are expected to be at full power this season, with Irving and Gordon Hayward coming back from their respective injuries. That means Rozier will return to the bench, where he'll lead one of the most dangerous reserve units in the NBA. With a great mix of star power and depth, Boston is the favorite to come out of the Eastern Conference.