Terry Rozier Has Blossomed Into One Of The NBA's Best Clutch Players
There have been a few really awesome storylines in this weird NBA season, but near the top has to be what is currently going on in Charlotte. In most places you could find on the internet, they were projected to be around a 21 win team and 14th in the conference. Even with the addition of a healthy Gordon Hayward. Well, here we sit 46 games into the season and the Charlotte Hornets currently have 24 wins and are in sole position of the 4 seed in the East. It's actually pretty wild considering they have the 16th ranked offense, 16th ranked defense, and 17th ranked net rating. So what the hell is going on?
For starters, they are one of the best clutch teams in the entire NBA. In fact, they are a top 5 clutch team sitting at a 16-6 record. No team in the league shoots better than they do in clutch situations (52% FG and 48.5% 3P%). They have the #1 ranked clutch time offense and the #2 ranked clutch time defense. Honestly, more of us should have seen that coming. The Hornets were actually 2nd in the NBA in clutch time offense last year as well. But for whatever reason, a lot of people slept on the Hornets heading into the year.
There's no denying that a main reason for this Hornets success in these clutch situations is the evolution of Terry Rozier. I mean holy shit. After someone like Dame, is there a point guard playing better in the clutch right now? Just look at what he did last night
As someone who has watched pretty much Terry's entire NBA career, this makes me happy to see. It makes me a little sad that this is happening in Charlotte, but at the same time, it's cool to see him blossom into the player that he always knew he could be. The one thing I always respected about Rozier was the confidence he had in himself. There were times as a Celtic that maybe backfired, but now? Now he's one of the most devastating clutch players the league has. I'm sure there will be some people out there that will turn this into a "the Celts should have kept him vs Kemba" nonsense. Maybe, but at the same time when it came time to pay Rozier that contract, especially after his playoff issues, nobody was really begging the Celts to keep him. It's OK that a player left, went to a situation where he had a bigger role, and developed into a legit stud. He's entering his prime and the production shows. It's OK to enjoy that ride even if it's not happening in Boston.
At just $18.9M this year and $17.9M next year, is it crazy to say that Rozier's contract may have turned into a steal? That's something I don't think many would ever think would be possible, yet here we are.
Barring something crazy, the Hornets should make the playoffs. At the very worst, the play in tournament. Even that would be a huge success given where they were projected. All their gambles seem to be paying off. Rozier has blossomed, Gordon Hayward has arrived and looked better than he has in years, Malik Monk has turned into a legit bench piece after being basically unplayable, LaMelo was obviously a draft day hit. You can see the Hornets are building something legit, even if some of the moves didn't make sense at the time.
I've already accepted the fact that we're probably going to get a CHA/BOS playoff series. I've begun the mental preparation for that torture. I'm sure a matchup of the best clutch team in the league vs the worst clutch team of all time will go swimmingly.
But seriously, do yourself a favor and watch more Hornets games. Especially if you see things are getting close towards the end of the game. Chances are you're going to see Terry Rozier do some pretty awesome shit.