HANOVER, Mass. — Celtics point guard Terry Rozier knows his role is going to be a little different this season.
“I’m not worried about it,” he told reporters at his youth basketball clinic Saturday. “Just trying to control what I can control. We all got one goal and that’s to win. We all get love when we win. That should be everybody’s mindset.”
Rozier — who the Celtics drafted with the 16th overall pick in 2015 — didn’t start a single contest in his first two seasons in Boston. Things got off to a similar start last year, but everything changed after a game against the Indiana Pacers in March: Marcus Smart injured his thumb diving for a ball, and Kyrie Irving was sidelined in the second half because of nagging knee soreness.
“Opportunity came knocking, [and] I was ready to answer,” Rozier said.
Both Smart and Irving missed the remainder of the regular season, giving Rozier a chance to step up at guard. His increased playing time continued into the postseason, and he averaged 36.6 minutes in 19 playoff games. Rozier quickly endeared himself to fans during Boston’s thrilling run — in part due to his 51 made three-pointers and in part to due to his Scary Terry character and newfound relationship with former Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe.
“I think it was pretty cool,” Rozier said. “I had a lot of fun, going through the process, the experience, back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals. Actually having a big role, it’s just a lot of fun, man. The fans, the crowd, [the media], everything was a great experience. We’re looking forward to hitting that same route.”
Rozier likely won’t log as many minutes this season, as both Irving and Smart are expected to be healthy for training camp. But the reduced playing time isn’t on his mind. As some of Rozier’s teammates have already mentioned, the Celtics have their eyes on something bigger than individual goals.
“We can be special, super special,” he said. “I think you know that, I think everybody knows that. We’re good on paper, but we got to get it together, make sure everybody comes in with the same mindset.”
One of the key components of that mindset is sacrifice.
“If you want to win a championship, that’s what it takes,” Rozier said. “We’re all going to have one goal that’s going to lead us to the promised land.”
Rozier said he visited the Celtics’ new Brighton practice facility for the first time Friday and spoke with coach Brad Stevens and president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. Training camp kicks off in September, but he said the team is already texting one another to try and figure out when they can organize some 5-on-5.
“We’re ready for it,” he said.