The 2018 NBA Draft is a little over a month away. The top point guards in this year’s draft are Trae Young, Collin Sexton, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Each one of them has definite strengths, but also obvious weaknesses. One weakness they all share in common is inexperience. So if you are a team picking in the lottery or slightly outside of it, why not inquire about a trade for postseason sensation Terry Rozier?
Boston’s Motives for Trade
Ideally the Celtics would keep Rozier and utilize him as a serviceable backup and viable insurance policy for Kyrie Irving. However there are a couple factors that would motivate the Celtics to trade Scary Terry.
First, GM Danny Ainge has shown that he loves to stockpile draft picks, and with the form that Rozier is in, he could easily net them a first round pick.
Second, Coach Brad Stevens is a basketball genius and has the ability to transform any point guard into a legitimate NBA player (i.e. Isaiah Thomas, Rozier, Shane Larkin), which makes Rozier expendable.
Third, and the most important reason to trade Rozier, is Boston’s future salary cap complications. This offseason point guard Marcus Smart is a free agent, Kyrie Irving and Al Horford both have player options after 2018-19, and in that same year Rozier will be up for free agency as well. Irving and Horford will be resigned to large deals. Smart is an awful shooter, a capable distributor, and a fantastic defender; all qualities that pair perfectly with a score-first point guard like Irving. Because of his offensive deficiencies, he will not generate much interest in free agency, and should be relatively cheap to resign. If they resign Smart, there won’t be a need for Rozier in Boston, and they might as well trade him for a draft pick that will end up being a younger, cheaper asset.
Motives to Trade for Rozier
Terry Rozier’s calling card to date has been his tenacious defense. Since Kyrie Irving went out with an injury and throughout the playoffs, he has shown craftiness with the ball in his hand, the ability to hit clutch shots, and a reliable three-point stroke. He is averaging 19 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds while shooting 42% from three in the postseason. Rozier’s floor is Marcus Smart with better offense, while his ceiling might be Jrue Holliday. Thats a pretty positive variance when all that is required is a first round pick. The aforementioned top point guards in the draft are all question marks with bust-potential. Trae Young is a score-first point guard with limited athleticism who is more likely to be the next Jimmer Fredette than the next Steph Curry. Collin Sexton is an explosive athlete who could be a lockdown defender, but is one of the streakiest shooters in the draft and appears to be an Eric Bledsoe clone. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is a 6’6″ point guard with no jump shot. Thats fine during the regular season, but a similar player with no jump shot, Ben Simmons, has been rendered useless in a 7 game series against a good defensive team like the Celtics, so why spend a high draft pick on him?
The point guards in the 2018 draft are all 5-6 years younger than Terry Rozier, but they are all also unproven prospects who could all end up being Jonny Flynn. Further, the teams that are in need of point guards, that are drafting in the lottery (Cleveland, Orlando, and the Clippers), are ready to compete now. So it makes perfect sense to sacrifice a draft pick for an established point guard who has yet to hit their prime like Rozier.
Ideal landing spot for Rozier: Cleveland if LeBron stays, Orlando if he doesn’t.
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