Position: Shooting Guard (maybe swing?)
--Brandon's biggest asset compared to most rookies is his knowledge of the game. Basketball I.Q. is sometimes hard to define but whatever it is this boy has got it. He's able to make the most of his abilities and he helps the other guys out there too.
--Close behind is his ability to change directions. He's more tricky than flat-out quick so it'll be interesting to see how he fares against experienced guards. My guess is that in another couple years he'll be one of those guys who gets to the hoop and draws fouls an awful lot.
--For a guy who's 6'6" he handles the ball very well and passes decently too. This team is impoverished in those skills outside of the point guard position. Brandon will be like a second PG on the court.
--He shoots well from the field, mostly by not forcing shots he can't hit.
--He has good defensive instincts.
--He fills up almost every line on the stat board. Not since Pippen have we had a guy like that here.
--For a guy under a considerable amount of pressure (new league, R.O.Y.-like expectations) Brandon doesn't seem to get rattled on or off the court. He's a calm, smooth charisma machine.
--Roy's outside shot still leaves something to be desired, especially at the NBA level. Fortunately most teams will give you the 15-18 foot jumper which is his specialty. If somebody decides to force him out farther than that, however, he'll start missing.
--Brandon has good height and isn't skinny, but he's not what you'd call an explosive athlete. He isn't a LeBron or Wade. He's unlikely to dominate a game on his own. He's probably not at his best when creating his own shot all the time. And the trickiness that allows him to shake free on offense avails him less on the defensive end. It's not like he won't move his feet, but he may not be able to move them well enough to really hamper hyper-athletic NBA two-guards.
--Everybody needs to remember that he's young. He'll be decent almost every night, good most nights, and spectacular now and again, but he's not going to be the franchise savior this year. He's going to make poor passes, dribble the ball off his foot now and again, and get forced into bad situations in which he'll put up even worse shots. Odds are he's also going to get torched by a Jason Richardson or Tracy McGrady a time or two. All of that is OK. It comes with being a rookie.
--I've been able to think up at least five challenges for every player on the squad. With Brandon I can only come up with three serious ones. Do you suppose that's a good sign?
If I were playing against B-Roy I would be pretty nervous in some respects. There's no easy way to stop him. If you play up close and take away the jumper he's going to drive by you. If you sag off he'll probably hit the J. I would try to do two things in general. First I'd want him to dribble and shoot from a standstill rather than on the move. That will take away at least a portion of his quick step and especially his passing. Letting him run or handle the ball in transition is a no-no. I think I might throw double teams at him occasionally both to cut down on his movement and to try and get in his head. The second thing I'd do is run him all around on defense. I'd want the guy he's guarding to be coming off screens and curls, running up and down the baseline, and cutting through the lane all night long. I'm not sure he'd get loose from Brandon but maybe you could tire him out. You could also bang him a little coming off those screens. Other than that, Roy's game is well-rounded enough that I don't think I could shut him down completely. At this stage of his career I'd probably figure I could equal him in scoring on a nightly basis and thus minimize his offensive impact on the game.
Roy is obviously the fan's great hope du jour. For once it seems well-warranted. We haven't had such a well-rounded and well-grounded young guy around here forever. He's going to get minutes and he's going to make an impact. You'll love his style of play and his commitment to the little things. That you'll love his interviews too will be a bonus. I try to be pretty conservative about dishing out praise, for fear I'll have to take it back later. (I've learned at the knees of Bonzi, Rasheed, Darius, Zach, and the like.) It's hard to be conservative about Mr. Roy. Barring injury, disaster, or the team moving, he ought to be a key cog in Portland for a long time.