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.
A key question after the 76ers traded for Jimmy Butler: How would the demanding star affect Markelle Fultz‘s confidence?
Butler isn’t even playing for Philadelphia yet, but this isn’t an encouraging sign.
Kyle Neubeck of The Philly Voice:
Maybe the ball just slipped out of Fultz’s hands on the way up, and he had to continue pushing it toward the rim to avoid a violation. That could happen to anybody.
But given everything we know about Fultz’s shooting woes, it’s impossible to take this as anything other than a ghastly low point in an ongoing problem.
LeBron James has played in eight straight NBA Finals.
How’s he handling reduced expectations with the Lakers, who started 2-5 before rising to 7-6?
LeBron, via Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:
“I haven’t changed anything outwardly, but you know me. You know how I am. I almost cracked [last week]. I had to sit back and remind myself, ‘[Expletive], you knew what you were getting yourself into,’” James told Yahoo Sports while laughing after Saturday’s win in Sacramento. “This process has been good for me. I just have to continue being patient.”
LeBron warned everyone to stay clear when he loses his patience, but he has never sounded close to losing it this season. He signed a four-year deal with the Lakers, said he doesn’t feel urgency to win quickly before his prime ends and seems content to wait for a co-star.
If anything, it seemed LeBron might be too relaxed, enjoying the Los Angeles lifestyle and focusing on showbusiness.
So, this is a welcome sign of his competitiveness.
Also kudos to LeBron for harnessing it unlike others in the organization. These Lakers need time to determine how these oddly shaped pieces fit together – unless a star becomes available. Then, all bets are off.
LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul – the banana-boat buddies – comprise the NBA’s most famous friendship group.
With Anthony nearing his end with the Rockets, that puts Houston teammate Paul in an awkward place. But Wade and LeBron are speaking up. So are the Trail Blazers’ Evan Turner and Damian Lillard.
It’s unclear whether Wade is scolding the Rockets or fans/media. That comment is far more loaded if he’s referring directly to the organization. I wonder what he sees at the “real problem” in Houston.
A struggling team waiving a minimum-salary player is rarely viewed as making that player the scapegoat. But Anthony has an outsized reputation due to his long, star-level career. With that in mind, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tried to defend Anthony.
But Anthony is a part of Houston’s problems. He’s awful defensively and shooting poorly. There is mounting evidence he’s washed up. Downgrading his role, whether or not that includes waiving him, is a step in the right direction for the Rockets.
It won’t solve everything, and Anthony – after all that he has done in the NBA – should be treated with respect. But there’s no way around his substandard current level of play.
According to one narrative, the Timberwolves decided after Friday’s loss to the Kings to trade Jimmy Butler.
But he might have forced their hand, resulting in his trade to the 76ers.
Jon Krawczynski and Shams Charania of The Athletic:
Butler decided he would play on Friday night, but he viewed it as the fork in the road. If the Timberwolves didn’t find a deal to fulfill his long-simmering trade request after that, he would begin to sit indefinitely, league sources told The Athletic.
The Kings defeated Minnesota 121-110 to push the Timberwolves to 4-9 and a winless road trip; Butler had 13 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in 41 minutes. He had played almost 124 minutes in the last three games, all losses, and at halftime of the final one, the Wolves were informed that this was it for Butler, sources said.
Butler reportedly held out for a game a couple weeks ago, though he and Minnesota both denied it. It’s quite believable he would’ve held out again if not traded. Still, informing the team during a game he’s playing would have been quite bold.
I’m not sure who actually blinked first. This could be an I-quit, no-you’re-fired (or vice versa) scenario. Both Butler and Timberwolves president-coach Tom Thibodeau are stubborn.
But the most important thing is Butler is gone and both sides can move on – whatever ugliness preceded the trade.