Terry Rozier was selected No. 16 overall by the Celtics. (Elsa/Getty Images)
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge introduced the team’s 2015 draft class at a press conference Tuesday at the team’s practice facility in Waltham.
Ainge sat alongside coach Brad Stevens, team president Rich Gotham and the Celtics’ newest members — Terry Rozier, R.J. Hunter, Jordan Mickey and Marcus Thornton.
With Ainge and the Celtics taking a lot of heat since the draft about potentially overrating Rozier, who they selected at No. 16 overall, much of the dialogue centered around the Louisville guard and how he managed to move so far up the C’s draft board.
“It started in my college career, I just got in a lot of work in the gym,” Rozier told reporters. “I left a lot of coaches with great impressions then I came here. I just work hard and show what I can do, which is toughness, defense, showing I can shoot the ball a little better than my college stats show. … I’m just excited to be playing for a … great franchise with 17 world titles and just to meet my new teammates and get it started.”
Ainge followed up to Rozier’s answer, saying he was always high on the team’s draft board. Rozier averaged a team-leading 17.1 points per game last year.
“He was always that high on our draft board,” Ainge said. “For the last couple months he’s been a guy that we had known and looked about and thought was very underrated based on the media and how they perceived him. Terry, because of the quality of player he is, was moving up rapidly in the last few weeks of the draft process as far as the attention he was getting around the league and that started scaring us because we thought we had a diamond in the rough that nobody really was valuing all that much.”
Though many expected the Celtics to emerge from the draft with solid, rim-protecting big men, Ainge surprised many when he selected guards with three out of his four picks. When asked about how he can set himself apart on a guard-heavy roster, Rozier conversely described how he intends to fit in with the rest of the Celtics’ roster.
“[I bring] a winner’s mentality,” Rozier said. “I’m not really so worried about how many guards we’ve got, [it’s] more about how I can come in and fit for this team, fit for this league and help my team improve. That’s what I’m more worried about, ‘How can I help this team?'”
Rozier led the Cardinals in points (17.1), steals (2.0) and free throw percentage (79 percent) last season. He stands undersized for a two-guard at 6-foot-2, however, he has a 6-foot-8 wingspan, which gives him shutdown capabilities on the defensive end.
For more information about Rozier, check out his draft profile.