Brandon Roy gave an interview on NBATV where he discussed his new team and return from retirement. You could write most of the transcript without watching the video (“I feel great, the situation seemed right, yada yada…) but Roy said one thing that stuck out as a candid bit of truth. When discussing his current level of athleticism, Roy stated:
You know honestly, right now and all summer long, I’ve been preparing to not have to take a step back with my game. I’ll be honest; some of the lift isn’t quite what it used to be, but I think my explosiveness to get to the basket has been just as good. You know, more than anything I think I’m a lot smarter of a basketball player. I understand that the NBA season is long and my body isn’t what it used to be. But right now I feel great. Me and Coach Adelman are gonna sit down before the season and communicate throughout the year about how I’m feeling and what’s the best way to get the most out of me.
Translation: Roy is less explosive, but pain free. On the whole I think that’s good news. The hope–as I think I’ve written before–is that he can mold himself into a modern Paul Pierce-style shooting guard, using hesitation moves and shooting brilliance to be a go-to scoring option. 2009 Brandon Roy isn’t walkin’ through that door. But a damn fine player might be. Let’s hope the training and coaching staff handles him with care and he can complete this transition from dynamic to savvy.
3 responses to “The Roy Reality”
I don’t get it. Pain free? Someone please explain. What has he done now that allows him to play professional basketball? Put him against the best player I saw in the summer Pulley League, guard Paris Kyles, and I’ll go with Kyles. Looks like Roy is living a dream. Good for him, but I don’t expect much. Sorry, Andy. Hope I’m wrong.
I’m not sold that no pain/less explosiveness is a good combination. It could lead to too many ineffective minutes. We’ll see. It does raise an issue about the Wolves for this season: how good are they going to be at getting to the line?
Many of Roy’s numbers fell off that last year in Portland when he was hurt, but notably his FTA/36 was off significantly from his All-NBA seasons. I think that is going to be an indicator for him and his ability to transition his game. Paul Pierce, who you cited, is able to remain effective in part because he still manages to get to the line 6 times a night.
For years, as any long-time Wolves watcher knows, the Wolves were not good at getting to the line. It flowed from Flip Saunders’ love of a jump shooting offense, and the related personnel.
That changed last season. The Wolves managed to finish 5th in the league in FTAs, largely driven by Kevin Love’s remarkable ability to get to the line despite not having a reputation for post play. Also helping were Pekovic (5+/36) and the rookies (one of Williams’ bright spots was getting 5/36 and Rubio managed 4/36 which is excellent for a rookie point guard).
That was despite having several non-free throwers soaking up minutes: Wes Johnson is as extreme as anyone in the league in this category, Beasley should draw more (one of the reasons why he isn’t Carmelo Anthony), and Webster also wasn’t good in this area.
These players have been replaced largely by players who have gotten to the line in their careers. Kirilenko was still getting 5/36 the last 2 years in Utah. Roy in his best years was over 6, though that is a big question. Budinger does not get to the line, but to the extent that he is replacing Johnson, he isn’t that bad at it.
If things go well this year, the Wolves could make a living at the line.
Good stuff — I thought that these remarks were good “on the whole” mostly because I have pretty guarded optimism about Roy. The bone-on-bone knee thing just seems like inevitable problems. But who knows, maybe this platelet procedure can keep him pain free. If he can move around laterally about like he used to, but just doesn’t have the same lift, he could be 80 percent of his old self, I think. He probably won’t make a living at the foul line, but even if he’s something like a 16-17 PER guy who mixes some scoring with assists, and can defend shooting guards, that’s quite a leap from what we’re used to seeing at that position.
A best realistic case scenario might be two years of above-average play from Roy, for about 25 minutes/game, then he retires (again) after having mentored young Shved who is then ready to play a full slate of minutes at a high level. But with Love playing at such a high level, and Rubio, Pek and Kirilenko here, the team could feasibly make a big push this year and next. If it plays out that way, some solid-but-unspectacular minutes from Roy would be a big help compared to likely alternatives. (Unless of course Shved is an immediate success.)