Terry Rozier is a 25 year old point guard who, after starting his NBA career with the Boston Celtics, is set to take the reigns as the starting guard for the Charlotte Hornets. Lots of love has been expressed regarding Rozier’s newfound home where he can finally start and run an offense and be the player we all saw in the playoffs two years ago.
We see this excitement in fantasy basketball as Rozier is currently being drafted 41st overall on ESPN’s Live Draft Trends, ahead of some big name guys. Rozier is being taken ahead of Buddy Hield, D’Angelo Russell, Khris Middleton, DeAndre Jordan, Kevin Love, Enes Kanter, Jamal Murray, CJ MCCOLLUM, and Otto Porter, Jr. Again, pretty high for a guy who’s never run his own offense.
But Rozier has a reputation, a reputation earned in the playoffs two seasons ago: when provided minutes and national television, Scary Terry Roizer (his nickname earned either after he eviscerated the Knicks and the Hawks in his first two starts when Kyrie Irving and Marcus Smart were both injured; or, after he played well in the playoffs in 2018; or, because he likes the movie Scream; or, because it rhymes, and “Flairy Terry” doesn’t sound as cool) averaged 16 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists.
However, when Terry isn’t provided minutes and national television, he’s far less frightening: that same regular season (2017-18), he averaged 11+ PPG on 39.5 FG%, with 4+ RPG, 2+ APG, and a steal over 26 minutes per game.
More damning, Rozier shot 39.5 FG% that year on 10 field goals attempted per game. To put that number in context, last season, of the 122 players who played at least 20 minutes per game and took at least 10 shots per game, only five players shot worse than 40 FG%: Trevor Ariza (39.9 FG%), Jae Crowder (39.9 FG%), Tim Hardaway, Jr. (39.3 FG%), Kevin Love (38.5 FG%, in only 22 games due to injury, he’s better than that, historically he’s a 44.2 FG% shooter for his career), and Kevin Knox (37 FG%, and who was only 19 years old and played for the Knicks, so please don’t judge him too harshly). Scary Terry’s best season stats would’ve been bottom five in efficiency last year.
Let’s look at some more underlying stats. Rozier’s effective field percentage from the 2017-18 season (we’re going to use that season for comparison because that’s when he played the most minutes, and because ALL of his stats got worse last season during the Celtics’ Weirdo Season From Hell, and we’re trying not to blame the players for the WSFH, nor read too much into it) was 49.1 eFG%, and his true shooting percentage was 52 TS%. Now, if you don’t know what eFG% nor TS% mean, don’t worry, because it doesn’t matter. All you need to know is that those numbers suck.
Last year, 241 players in the NBA played at least 20 games, averaged at least 20 minutes per game, and shot at least 10 times per game (same as Rozier in 2017-18). Of those 241 players, Rozier’s 49.1 eFG% would’ve ranked 194th, between Markieff Morris and Justin Holiday. His 52 TS% would’ve tied him with Ricky Rubio, Collin Sexton (a rookie), and Justin Holiday for 200th out of 241. When you think of good scoring point guards, do you think of Ricky Rubio?
Effective Field Goal and True Shooting Percentages are attempts to combine a player’s shots—regular 2-point field goals, 3-pointers, and 1-point free throws—into one overall ratio stat. These numbers tell us that Rozier isn’t a very efficient shooter, whether inside or outside the three-point line. Terry doesn’t get to the line much, either: his 1.9 FTA per game in 2017-18 would’ve ranked 205th (out of 250 players who averaged 20 MPG), tied with dynamo point guard revelation Markelle Fultz, and Bobby Portis. And, Terry’s 77.2 FT% in 2017-18? Nothing special: 128 players averaged at least one free throw attempt per game last year, and shot at least 77 FT%.
And, not for nothing, but Collin Sexton and Ricky Rubio, the guys with true shooting percentages similar to Rozier’s, both dish more dimes than Rozier does. Much like a Balrog with a Gandalf problem, Scary Terry cannot pass.
Last year, Rozier averaged 2.9 assists per game (the same as in 2017-18), which provided 0.92 value on ESPN basic in the assists category in their Player Rater. That tied with Jeremy Lin. For 50th. OUT OF POINT GUARDS. Linsanity and Scary Terry also had the same number of total assists last season (231) which makes sense if they had the same overall fantasy value in assists,Jeremy Lin made those passes in 360 fewer minutes than Terry.
If Rozier’s a score-first point guard, then doesn’t he need to be more efficient at shooting the ball? If he’s not a score-first point guard, then doesn’t he need to pass the ball more? If he’s not an offensive point guard, then doesn’t he need to be an elite defender?
Terry is scary because these questions are fair. We aren’t really sure what Terry Rozier is yet. He absolutely plays better when he’s in rhythm. He needs starters minutes in order to be the best version of himself. But if his best version is an undersized guard with subpar ratios and average-to-below-average defensive instincts, then he’s not really the “good player on a bad team” candidate that people are drafting him to be in fantasy.
I hope Charlotte gets Playoff Rozier. I hope fantasy owners get the best Good-Player-On-A-Bad-Team guy in the NBA and Terry helps them win their leagues. I hope Terry becomes the best version of himself.
But, I doubt it. And that scares me.