So I'm listening to Jerome Kersey on the MSP this morning and he was more thoughtful than I'd ever seen him and best of all, he articulated some thoughts on B-Roy* in a succinct fashion that I could never achieve. So, here I will paraphrase JK because whenever I tried to write what he laid out this morning it turned into a nine paragraph mishmash of colloquialisms that flowed together about as cleanly as the storm water overflow currently seeping into the Willamette River.
JK, when asked about Brandon Roy's current struggles - both mentally and physically - says that the man, currently in his fifth year, needs to develop as a player. Evolve if you will. Add a wrinkle. Push a button! Pull a lever!
Then JK evoked Kobe, the wrinkle addingest adder who ever went to work with Hakeem in the off-season to develop a post game; or worked so hard on his jump shot that his form is, if you take the time to watch it, flawless. Or, as Kobe told it to somebody in an interview I saw before this season, watched film of all the great players/scorers from years past - Oscar Robertson, Elgin Baylor, Jerry West** - and integrated some of what he saw into his own game.
Like someone once said and other people repeated because it was true - there's nothing new under the sun, especially with Brandon Roy. Roy has some changing to do and needs to see it as change to benefit himself, not just to integrate others. I've wondered for the past two seasons what the problem has been as I've watched the emergence of this stubborn streak in Roy that doesn't seem to fit into the young man who came to Portland and lit the place up. Then I went to the OKC game and - thanks to my good friend, E - had a great seat behind the hoop watching the Blazers stink it up on offense in the second half. Out of the million things I saw the one thing pertinent to this post is the way OKC played Roy...with the Durantula on ball and lots of weak side help. I didn't see Roy struggling to get to the bucket - he still has a rocket of a first step and got past Durant with ease on at least two ocassions; but, each time Durant or an offside defender swatted his layup off the glass and OKC took it the other way. I can't remember if they scored*** but I do know that the move I saw was anticipated and met by OKC with what appeared to be a defensive scheme based on two things every NBA team has in spades - advanced scouting and good coaching. Now I'm beginning to think that the stubborn streak is frustration and a lack of understanding - that being understanding on both Roy's part and from the coaching staff - of how to make things easier for himself and, subsequently, the rest of the team. As far as meting out blame in this situation, I have to go with the coaching staff on this.
*by the way, worst nickname ever for a borderline superstar
**Pretty sure about the names, but I drink...a lot
***again, the drinking