Two seasons ago, when Brandon Roy exploded onto the NBA scene the way those of us who watch a lot of Pac-10 ball expected he would, the ball was in his hands. You could define the positions however you want, Steve Blake was out there with him and may be the true point guard, but Roy was making the decisions.
Last season, Andre Miller was on the floor, Greg Oden was trying to be fit in (the first part of the season) Roy was slowed by injury and it just wasn’t the same. The Blazers were not the same.
Roy told Jason Quick of the Oregonian it’s time for him to have control again — that means a little Keyshawn Johnson, “give me the damn ball” time.
“I want the ball a lot more,” Roy said…
Roy said he has spoken with coach Nate McMillan about returning the offense to resemble the 2008-09 season, when he handled the ball on command, which included for much of the fourth quarter. Roy averaged a career-high 22.6 points that season and the Blazers won 54 games.
“I want to be maximized every game,” Roy said. “That’s a position that I’m strong with, with the basketball, and I’m extremely confident with it.”
What does that mean? Here is what Roy said before the game, as reported by Blazers Edge.
More pick and rolls. More isolation plays. Right now we’re doing a lot of powering, a lot of coming off screens. A lot of crossing. I think that’s going to be more of the second string’s offense. And the starters will play something different.
Roy is both right and shows the maturing he needs to make the next step.
Roy should have the ball more — he is the team’s biggest threat. He makes good decisions. He should be the focal point of the offense and have control of it with the rock in his hands.
But that is a separate issue from having good screens, crossing and off the ball movement. That is good, too. Look at the Lakers, who are a far more deadly offense when they are running the triangle, when guys are moving off the ball and spacing the floor. When it’s an isolation Kobe night, the Lakers are defendable and struggle. Same was true of Jordan’s Bulls. Of virtually every championship team of the last couple decades. It’s true of the Blazers.
Roy himself shot 44.3 percent in isolation last season and scored 0.99 points per possession that way last season. Off cuts it was 76.7 percent and 1.49 per possession. Roy even shot better coming off screens than he did in isolation. (Stats via Synergy Sports)
There needs to be both — more Roy and more movement off the ball, more continuity and less isolation. They can coexist. And for the Blazers to get where they want, they need to.