Rozier is a very talented and explosive player at the point guard position who can put up points in a hurry. Rozier has great blow by ability, is ultra-aggressive (some of it is the Louisville system), and is a very good defender. The issue is: Is Rozier efficient enough to play at this level and can he be a point guard?
Athletically, Rozier is the most imposing player in this draft and in general one of the top players. Rozier is extremely fast, has quick hands, can jump really well, and combines it with natural aggressiveness. I’m not saying he is in the tier of Russell Westbrook or Derrick Rose in his prime, but just a tier below it.
At 6’2, Rozier is average at the point guard position in terms of height. However, he is built like a tank at 190 lbs. and has a very good wing-span at over 6’8. Combine good size with elite athleticism, and you have an interesting player.
To be honest, I feel Rozier leaves a lot to desire in terms of basketball IQ. I am not saying he is a basketball dummy, but he makes many questionable decisions. Sometimes you need an irrational shot-maker and Rozier could be that in the right environment.
Skill-wise, Rozier has some nice physical gifts that help his skill level. He has an elite first step with very good handles. In fact, his elite first step, if honed and developed, can be quite a go-to move at the next level. While not a great shooter, Rozier can get hot from mid-range and from three-point range. He also showed the ability to make acrobatic finishes, but was an inconsistent finisher in the lane.
Defensively, Rozier is a stud at the point guard position. He can pressure opposing guards the whole game, seems to have relentless energy, gets many steals, and has the body to shield off players from their comfort spot. He is also a very good rebounder getting over 5 rebounds a game.
The big thing for me with Rozier is consistency. He struggles to finish shots, is not someone that can regularly find teammates even in a drive-and-kick system, and is very inconsistent from his mid-range and outside shot. Defensively, while a very good player, he gambles too much at times. My concern is a player that has the talent to be a very good, scoring point guard is very inconsistent in finding ways to scorer while not being a good passer at the premium position to be passing. He also does not really play well off the ball.
Thinking of comparisons for Rozier, he kind of reminds me a little of Eric Bledsoe but way more raw. Rozier is said to pattern his game after his basketball idol Dwyane Wade, but he is nowhere near the level of player as Wade. If Rozier finds the right team to develop him, and can find the system that will let him play in an open-court style, I can envision his prime being that of an Eric Bledsoe. I just question his decision making and ability to be consistent to do that consistently.
What makes him hard to evaluate in my opinion is the way Rick Pitino develops players offensively. While Pitino is a big-time winner, to me his success comes off of playing overpowering defense and traps at a lesser level with elite level athletes. I just don’t see much offensive power and that is why we must take everything into consideration.
How does he fit with the Bulls?
To me, Rozier has the talent and playmaking to be a good possible pick at pick 22. There are big concerns as to if he is consistent enough to be a NBA player. With Aaron Brooks last year, fans were wanting him to initiate the offense more and get the team in flow. Supposedly, the Bulls like Rozier or putting off that vibe, but will the Bulls place Rozier as a facilitator or will he be another Aaron Brooks in getting points off the bench (albeit better at the rim, but not nearly as good of a shooter)?
To me, the Bulls need three things in either size, smart playmaking, or athletic shooting. I don’t know if I classify Rozier as any of that. While he provides the athleticism we crave and it seems like Hoiberg offensively can find mismatches, I just think it will take a while to develop him. I think Rozier is the type of talent that can develop well on a team that will give him time, and then he join another organization, and blossom after 4 inconsistent years of developing his game. If I am going to take a scoring point guard at our pick or trade down, I am taking someone like Joseph Young from Oregon. While Young is not nearly as dominant athletically like Rozier, he can shoot, is very fast, and has a decent understanding of the game. I don’t think Rozier is a Marquis Teague-like bad player, as Rozier is confident and much more imposing athletically and in build. I just don’t see a great fit here right now.
In the last couple of years, the Finals Champions have had playmakers that can shoot. The Bulls basically have right now Doug McDermott, Nikola Mirotic, and Tony Snell as our proven shooters (Butler is improving and Dunleavy is a free agent). Taking Rozier to pair with this shooting right now to me stifles the style of offense Coach Hoiberg might run.