Brandon Roy was well on his way to NBA superstardom after an 08-09 campaign that saw him average 22.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game with an impressive PER of 24.08. Then the knee injuries came. Roy still averaged 21.5 points per game last season, but missed 17 regular-season games, saw his efficiency drop off, and was barely able to appear in the playoffs at all.
This year, he only appeared in 23 games for the Blazers, was a shell of himself when he was on the court, and recently underwent arthroscopic surgery on both of his knees and may be out for the rest of the season. When John Canzano of 95.5 The Game in Portland asked Roy about his medical prognosis, the 26-year old Roy was frank about the state of his knees, and confident that he’ll be able to play at a high level again in the future:
“I don’t think medically I will ever be able to get back to 100%. The doctors do feel confident that I can get back to a high level of basketball. I don’t want to say to an all-star level because coaches boast those things every year and different guys deserve them but they do feel like I can get to that level where I can continue to help this team and produce at a high level…
…Just being in the NBA I knew there were some problems there with the knees but I never read too much into it. I had the surgery I think after my second season and I was able to come back and have a great third year, so my biggest thing is that I never read too much into my knees. Right now this is a tough spot and it is something that I can get through and one day look back and say, that was something big that I overcame in my basketball career and can be really proud of.”
Since Roy’s game relied more on a deft shooting touch, excellent ball skills, and an off-the-charts basketball IQ rather than pure athleticism when he was happy, he should be able to play at a high level even if he doesn’t get all of his pre-surgery explosiveness back. However, he’ll still need his knees to hold up for a full season, which is always a dicey proposition for knees as well-worn as Roy’s. Hopefully Roy can come back and play at a high level, because it’s been a shame to see Roy and Greg Oden’s extremely promising careers be repeatedly set back by knee injuries at such young ages.
It’s going to be a slow NBA trade deadline this year.
The reason it will be relatively quiet on Feb. 7 (the deadline day) this year is reflected in the five players to watch talked about in this PBT Extra. The bottom line: There are far more buyers than sellers.
Take Trevor Ariza in Washington, for example. A number of playoff teams are looking for wings on expiring contracts to help them out — the Rockets and Lakers are at the front of that line — but Wizards owner Ted Leonsis has said the team the team will not tank, so is Ariza even available.
Or, what about Terrence Ross in Orlando? Another wing a lot of teams have interest in, but is Orlando selling?
And while the Dallas Mavericks have made public overtures about reconciliation with Dennis Smith Jr., sources tell me the plan on both sides is still to find a trade, it’s just right now the offers are lowball ones (because the Mavs have no leverage and there will be good young point guards such as Terry Rozier and D'Angelo Russell available in July as restricted free agents, and teams like them better).
Still, there will be trades. These are the guys to watch.
Want to see more dunks like this and this?
Watch the dunk contest during All-Star weekend.
Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:
Miles Bridges, the No. 12 pick in last year’s draft, has quickly proven himself as belonging in the Hornets’ rotation. He’s active, capable of getting to the rim and picks up defensive concepts quickly.
But like most rookies picked in the middle of the first round, he hasn’t yet earned a national profile.
The dunk contest will be his opportunity to change that.
Wendell Carter Jr. has had a strong rookie season in Chicago: 10.3 points a game, 7 rebounds, showing real strength and touch inside and getting 67 percent of his shot attempts in the paint. The advanced stats like him: He’s got an above average PER and Value over Replacement Player, something very rare for a rookie. He looks like a key part of the future in Chicago.
And he’s out for the next two-to-three months.
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune first reported that Carter might have ligament damage in his left thumb requiring surgery, and that coach Jim Boylen said Carter was seeing a specialist. Shams Charania of The Athletic took it to the next step.
That’s a blow to his development but doesn’t really change the trajectory of a Bulls team that will pick high in next June’s draft.
This does not change the Bulls’ plans heading into the trade deadline — big man Robin Lopez is still available (but likely will end up a buyout candidate) reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Bobby Portis will get more run with Carter out.
The young Bulls have been hit hard by injuries this season. Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Portis have all missed time, and Denzel Valentine has yet to play a game for Chicago this season.
Before the season, Wizards owner Ted Leonsis stated his goals: 50 wins and the conference finals.
Washington is 19-26 and 11th in the Eastern Conference.
Time to shift priorities?
NBC Sports Washington:
Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington:
The Wizards are too talented to tank right now. Led by Bradley Beal, they have a roster of capable veterans. They just traded for Trevor Ariza, making that even more true.
As bad as they’ve been, the Wizards are just 2.5 games and three teams out of playoff position. They will likely miss the postseason, but there’s no alternative better than trying to get there. They’re too far down the road toward winning now to simply pivot into a rebuilding.
But what about if the Wizards get eliminated from playoff contention with games left in the season? They won’t tank down the stretch to improve their draft position? What’s the point of that?
And what about future seasons? Washington will have a tough time building a satisfactory winner after signing John Wall to a super-max extension that kicks in next season. That difficult-to-move contract almost mandates the Wizards prioritize the present. A healthy Wall is good enough to ensure Washington can’t bottom out – for now.
Wall be 32 in the final year of that deal. The Wizards could be in ruins by then. Taking the option to tank off the table would be a mistake.
To be fair, I’m not totally sure Leonsis is doing that. Owners almost never admit to tanking. Most deny it.
But this goes a level beyond. This is far more forceful than Leonsis had to be, which makes me believe it’s actually his plan.
That’s fine right now. Eventually, it could make a futile situation far worse.