Now with the Hornets, Rozier used to back up Thomas in Boston and would compete against him every day in practice. Rozier was behind Thomas on the depth chart in the 2016-17 season, when Thomas made All-NBA and when he hurt his hip in the playoffs.
The two were reunited on Friday night in the Wizards' 125-118 win over the Charlotte Hornets. Rozier guarded Thomas often throughout the latter's 21 minutes on the floor. And afterward, Rozier shared the sense of pride he has felt watching Thomas revive his career in Washington.
"I'm just happy for him, just to get that joy back of playing ball," Rozier told NBC Sports Washington.
"Whether he ever gets back to where he was at or not, I'm sure he's just happy to be out there and playing. It's just a guy that I look to as a big brother that taught me a lot in my first two years."
Rozier and Thomas played against each other last season when Thomas was with the Denver Nuggets, but Rozier said "it wasn't anything like this." Thomas played only seven minutes in his lone match-up with Rozier and the Celtics last year and he didn't score a point.
Thomas didn't have his best game on Friday, just five points and five assists, but he has mostly been a bright spot for the Wizards this season. Through 11 games, he is averaging 12.4 points and 5.9 assists while shooting 40.4 percent from three.
Those aren't All-Star numbers, but they suggest Thomas isn't a lost cause and that he could have several years left in his NBA career if he stays healthy. Rozier says even getting to this point is a testament to Thomas' resolve and character.
"He's smart, man. He knows basketball. He has watched the game a lot, he has played the game a lot; I've seen that myself," Rozier said.
"He's always talking to his guys. He plays hard. He's a guy that just wants to win and is competitive as well. Any team that has him is lucky to have him."
Thomas turned some heads before Friday's game when he appeared on NBATV and essentially guaranteed he would be an All-Star again.
Rozier can't make that claim himself, but he does believe Thomas will continue trending up from here.
"I'm one of the happiest people for him. I know he's just gonna keep climbing and keep getting better and making the best out of this opportunity," Rozier said.
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