Rozier Reflects on Winning Player of the Week, Team Goals Moving Forward

by Sam Perley

Just minutes before departing Charlotte on Monday afternoon for the start of a six-game road trip in Washington, Terry Rozier received word that he had officially become the 12th different player in franchise history to be named the NBA’s Eastern Conference Player of the Week. It’s the first such honor of Rozier’s career and the first by a Hornets player since Kemba Walker back in April of 2019.

“I’m really proud of him. It’s a validation of his work, his season, how much time, effort and commitment he’s put into his craft,” said Hornets Head Coach James Borrego. “I think Terry would recognize it’s a validation for our team as well. To be recognized and earn respect in this league, you have to win. That’s what it comes down to. Overall, it’s a validation of the team’s hard work and Terry’s hard work.”

Over a span of four games last week, Rozier averaged 24.3 points on 47% shooting, 3.8 three-pointers on 39.5% shooting, 5.3 rebounds, 5.5 assists and just 1.5 turnovers as the Hornets went 3-1, the only blemish being a narrow overtime defeat to the Western Conference’s second-ranked Phoenix Suns. He’s also the first Charlotte player since Nic Batum in December of 2016 to record consecutive 20-point double-doubles – one with rebounds, the other with assists.

“Rebounding has always been my thing,” said Rozier, who ranks sixth in the NBA in this category amongst players 6-1 or shorter. “I’m on the ball more now, so I got a lot of opportunities to get more assists than I usual get, but rebounding has always been my thing since I was young. It just shows toughness. It’s something I love doing – getting in there and scrapping for rebounds.”

Rozier actually had another Player of the Week-worthy stretch last month, when he averaged 30.8 points on 56% shooting (50% from three), 5.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists in four games from Feb. 8-14. The Hornets went just 2-2 across this span though and the award went to Detroit Pistons rookie Saddiq Bey instead.

“That lets you know right there 3-1 is better than 2-2,” he said with a grin. “It’s a team game and this is my first time getting Player of the Week. Not going to lie, it feels great. Obviously, we still have more work to do. I just look at it like they didn’t give it to me that one time, so they’re making up for it by giving it to me this time. Obviously the record is better and that speaks for itself. It’s a team game, but better late than never.”

Rozier wasted no time making another run at the award this week either, notching a game-high 27 points, seven rebounds and four assists in the team’s road-trip-opening victory in Washington on Tuesday night. With Charlotte leading by just three and about four minutes remaining on the game clock, Rozier scored seven of the team’s next nine points to put the game firmly out of reach of the Wizards.

“We have confidence in him and he’s got a lot of confidence in himself,” said teammate Cody Zeller after the win. “There’s been games this year where he hasn’t scored all night, but when it comes down to the last few minutes, he makes a couple big plays, a couple big shots. We have a lot of confidence when the ball is in his hands. He’s been a great leader for us all year.”

The sixth-year guard currently sits second in the NBA in clutch-time three-point field goals (12) behind only Damian Lillard. He’s also fifth in clutch-time field-goal percentage (54.3%; mini. 30 FGA) and first in clutch-time three-point percentage (52.2%; mini. 20 3PA). Rozier’s play has simply been spectacular this season and a major reason why the team finds itself sitting alone in fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings at the moment.

“I’m one of the louder voices that’s talking on this team,” he added. “You try to be the guy that leads everybody by example. I’ve been in the playoffs before and the Eastern Conference Finals. I just go out there and let everyone have a clear mind, but still try and put my input in there to get us to where we’re trying to be, which is in the playoffs.”

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