When Brandon Roy retired after the 2011 season, it was a sad ending for what was a magnificent run of basketball — when he was right — with the Portland Trail Blazers. It was also woefully short, even as magnificent runs go. The belief that Roy, who had to call it quits because of debilitating and chronic knee injuries, had something left, something more to give the NBA was never really questioned. Ultimately, the instability of his knees proved too much to overcome for effectiveness on the court.
Now, with Roy planning a comeback to the NBA as soon as this upcoming season, interest around the league is growing. Sources from ESPN1500, a radio station in Minnesota, say that the Timberwolves are preparing to make Roy a two-year offer, according to IamAGM.com.
Other teams with possible interest, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, include the Indiana Pacers, Dallas Mavericks and Chicago Bulls.
Not surprisingly, all of the potentially interested teams have holes in their perimeter scoring attacks, and sliding a former All-Star like Roy in the rotation would, on paper at least and of course depending how healthy and game-ready he is, appear to be a decent gamble.
Roy’s game was always so great to watch because he wasn’t your run-of-the-mill guard. He wasn’t the most athletically explosive or blindingly quick; he had to rely on guile and smarts in many cases, setting up teammates with his all-around table-setting abilities and always getting to his spot, no matter how plodding or uneventfully plain the attack might look, and he was always in control of the situation — especially as the game wore down to its final minutes. Roy was obvious yet, because of his skill set, unpredictable in that any play on the floor was seemingly possible.
That’s why, if he’s healthy enough to play at anywhere near a high level, Roy could be worth the risk of getting nothing in return for taking a chance. The end of his run in Portland was especially sad because he simply couldn’t preform the ordinary on the floor, much less the extraordinary we’d grown accustomed to expecting. If his knees are ready for the NBA, his game is one that suits playing deliberate and below-the-rim, so long as he can run through the basics without pain or fuss. And if he can prove that, some franchise, whether it be in Minnesota or elsewhere, will take a chance that they’ll be getting something near the Brandon Roy of Trail Blazer glory.
It is indeed a long-shot, to expect the Roy we want to remember to come back like nothing happened, but anything nearing that, anything productive and healthy at all, would be a welcome sight when the NBA returns this fall.
Griffin Gotta contributes to The Hoop Doctors and is a co-managing editor of Straight Outta Vancouver on SB Nation. The story arcs and infinite weirdness of the NBA are addictions he deals with every day. Email him at griffingotta at gmail dot com.