Terry Rozier didn’t know exactly what the Charlotte Hornets have been operating on their final possession, even with him as the focus of that play.
There was good cause for that: While teammates huddled with coach James Borrego, Rozier was making two free throws, off technical fouls towards Golden State’s Draymond Green, that tied the recreation with 9 seconds left.
After that, Rozier received a decide from teammates P.J. Washington, dribbled towards the left baseline, and launched a leaning 20-footer that swished at the buzzer. Ballgame: Hornets 102, Warriors 100.
In 1 1/2 seasons as a Hornet, Rozier has demonstrated plenty of expertise. More importantly, he offers will. He isn’t the most entertaining Hornet — that’s rookie LaMelo Ball — nor does he have the widest expertise set — that’s Gordon Hayward.
But when you’re measuring psychological toughness, Rozier is Charlotte’s beacon. No different participant comes shut.
“More than anything, it’s a winning spirit: Winning mentality, never give in, never die. That’s as simple as I can put it,” coach James Borrego stated of Rozier.
When Rozier agreed to turn out to be a Hornet in the summer season of 2019, it appeared as if the franchise was settling; changing Kemba Walker with a less expensive various (when you can name $19 million a season low-cost) and hoping for the finest.
There has been no settling. Rozier is completely different from Walker, the Hornets’ career scoring leader, however not lesser. Rozier would possibly by no means be the ballhandler Walker was right here, however he’s a greater defender, extra positionally versatile and each bit the identical competitor.
Rozier’s numbers have been beautiful: Over his final 4 video games, Rozier is averaging 36 factors on 60% capturing from the discipline and 59% from 3-point vary. He scored 20 of the Hornets’ 33 factors in Saturday’s fourth quarter, during which Charlotte overcame a 10-point deficit.
Product of your work
I ponder if different Hornets get uninterested in listening to Borrego remind them how rigorously Rozier ready for coaching camp. It’s a recurring theme.
“You’re a product of your work,” Borrego stated Saturday of Rozier. “Nobody worked harder in the offseason.”
When the Hornets’ season was paused by the pandemic final March 11, it by no means resumed. While most of the league was brought to Orlando, Fla., to end the season in a bubble, the Hornets have been certainly one of eight NBA groups omitted. That meant 9 months of nearly no workforce actions.
While the remainder of the world stayed residence consuming Moon Pies and Girl Scout cookies, Rozier truly misplaced 15 kilos throughout the pandemic. He already had an offseason coaching base established in Miami — he’d labored on the market way back to pre-draft in 2015 — so he caught with what he knew. He invited a lot of Charlotte teammates to be part of him there, and several other accepted.
When Rozier was drafted sixteenth total by the Boston Celtics in 2015, he was no certain factor: Neither a pure level guard nor an awesome shooter. But there was persistence in how he performed at Louisville that caught normal supervisor Danny Ainge’s consideration.
Through most his four seasons in Boston, Rozier was “that other guy,” backing up Isaiah Thomas first, after which Kyrie Irving. When Irving selected to go away, Ainge pursued Walker reasonably than flip the job over to Rozier.
Since the Hornets weren’t snug paying Walker $35 million or extra, Rozier grew to become the placeholder, the bridge, no matter you select to name it.
Except his efficiency exceeded any of these labels.
Slightly little bit of Marvin Williams
On the court docket, Rozier has been a go-to scorer this season whereas concurrently guarding the opposing workforce’s finest perimeter scorer most video games.
Off the court docket, he’s begun talking up extra in huddles and in the locker room; bringing management to a workforce that misplaced a key veteran voice final season. Marvin Williams was necessary each in displaying younger gamers how to be skilled and directing visitors on the defensive finish.
Rozier doesn’t but have Williams’ gravitas, however he’s changing into the core of this workforce’s persona: Adapt to what the group wants and maintain your self accountable.
“Wins are all that matter in this league,” Rozier stated Saturday.
Winning grows from toughness. Toughness on this workforce grows from Rozier.