Isaiah Thomas helped Terry Rozier learn his value as an NBA player.
The Boston Celtics point guard explained to NBC Sports Boston’s A. Sherrod Blakely on Monday how his game is similar to that of the Denver Nuggets guard. Rozier was Thomas’ backup in Boston during his first two NBA seasons, 2015-16 and 2016-17, and he watched his teammate blossom into an All-Star using traits he also possessed.
“We’re not the same player, but the toughness, grit … we got similarities,” Rozier said. “And the respect level. He always showed respect for me and my game, and I did the same.”
The healthy competition with Thomas pushed Rozier to improve, and he now is a key player on the Celtics’ roster, despite the fact Kyrie Irving is the starting point guard and leader of the team.
Thomas’ career derailed after he played through a hip injury in spring 2017, and the Celtics traded him to the Cleveland Cavaliers that offseason as part of the package that netted Irving.
Thomas will return to Boston on Monday night when the Nuggets visit the Celtics at TD Garden. He hasn’t seen any playing time in the Nuggets’ last three games and hasn’t regained the level of play he experienced prior to offseason hip surgery. It’s unknown whether he’ll play Monday against Rozier, Irving and Co.
Thumbnail photo via John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports Images