Terry Rozier appears to be delusional. He talks like he earned the starting point guard position last year, failing to mention he only played those minutes because Kyrie Irving was sidelined with a knee injury. The fourth-year guard complains Gordon Hayward touched the ball too much this season, even though Rozier averaged nearly six more touches per game than the crippled forward.
It’s very hard to support a role-player with an inflated sense of self-worth who complains to Max Kellerman and Stephen A. Smith on “First Take.” Rozier proclaimed Tuesday he “might have to go” if the Celtics return the same team, and it’s difficult to argue with him. The fourth-year guard spent his time in the ESPN car wash relaying his tale of woe and speaking in the third-person, bemoaning his lack of playing time in the most egotistical matter possible.
"I sacrificed obviously my talent the most,” Rozier said. "I think me being out there and giving my full style of play, how Terry Rozier play. I feel like I couldn't be that person this year.
But one can’t allow their visceral anger towards Rozier to shield the real culprit of the Celtics’ miserable season. At the end of the day, Rozier is a backup guard who played 22.7 minutes per night. Irving set the tone for the team, and as Rozier and several other anonymous players have said –– admittedly, some of those quotes attributed to anonymous players might also be coming from Rozier –– he often brought his teammates down.
That was apparent over the final four games against Milwaukee, in which Irving went 23-of-85 from the floor and played lethargic defense. His pathetic effort appeared to poison the rest of the bunch.
Rozier may have sulked for the bulk of the year, but he seemingly possessed little influence. Irving was the alpha male in the room. When the most powerful guy on a team is miserable, it often affects everybody else.
The young guys –– Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Rozier –– deserve blame for not acquiescing to their new roles and appearing to play for their own interests. But it’s silly to hold players on their rookie contracts accountable for the Celtics’ destruction when their leader was complaining about getting videotaped heading into arenas and constantly throwing them under the bus to the press.
Rozier may be airing his grievances in an untoward manner, but his feelings aren’t unnatural. Imagine how would you feel if you performed well at your job one year, only to take a backseat to a total jerk without receiving a chance to usurp him.
It's crazy, of course, for Rozier to expect to be treated as Irving's equal. But when it comes to self-evaluation, most people are irrational. The difference is, most people aren’t encouraged to air their dirty laundry on national TV.
Rozier appears to be an immature 25 year old who’s fallen victim to self-pity, and the temptation to publicize his complaints. It means he may have to move on from the Celtics, but it does not make him malevolent.