Brandon Roy's dramatic Game 4 return, just 8 days after knee surgery, drew almost immediate criticism from television broadcasters and basketball analysts who believed the Blazers were not being cautious enough in their handling of Roy.
The second-guessing continued after a Game 5 loss, when Eric Freeman wrote yesterday on the Sporting News that Portland was putting its "future at risk" by allowing Roy to play.
On today's episode of The BS Report podcast, two of ESPN's most recognized basketball personalities -- Bill Simmons and Marc Stein -- upped the ante. Simmons argued that the decision to play Roy was the result of a dysfunctional management situation and Stein asserts that the Blazers are tempting fate given their recent history of injuries.
Follow this link to listen. The discussion begins around the 24 minute mark. Here's a transcript.
Bill Simmons: "What did you think of Portland's decision to play Brandon Roy?"
Marc Stein: "Totally, totally against it. Couldn't be more against it. I don't care if he gets through this series fine. Can they win a championship this year? No. Even if they could win a championship, you have to question it. I don't know what the payoff is of playing him when they've already had so many issues. Why? Where are you on it?"
Bill Simmons: "I hated it. I tweeted as it happened, I just think that it's the kind of decision a team makes when its front office and ownership is in disarray. It's a short term decision not a long term one. And I think any good franchise that is all on the same page and is not worried about their jobs next year, has the kind of front office in place that can talk the owner out of greenlighting something this dumb, would be able to say, 'You know what, we're not going to win the title this year, let's not risk it, this guy already has bad knees, it's just not worth it, it's stupid.'
"And then of course he comes out, does the Willis Reed thing, makes a couple of shots in the fourth quarter and everybody is like, 'oh, that was a great idea.' I don't care if they won or lost, I just thought it was stupid."
Marc Stein: "Yeah, there's just no pay off."
Bill Simmons: "Imagine like... I was arguing about this with someone this weekend in New York and this is the example I used... imagine if this was Durant and this was Oklahoma City and he had this knee thing and he came back in 8 days. Everybody would be like, 'Are you crazy? Don't mess with Durant!' To me, Brandon Roy should get that same respect.
"It's not somebody you want to mess around with especially considering that this was the main reason he dropped in the draft, was because people were worried about his knees. Now he had a surgical procedure on one of those knees, they're rushing him back.
"[TNT Commentator Charles] Barkley made a good point I think two nights ago or maybe last night, talking about 'it's a confidence thing.' You're not going to trust the knee totally. To pretend that you will is stupid and if you're tentative or not totally sure, that's when you get injured as an athlete, if you're not totally in control of your body.
"I don't know. And here's the other thing, this is a little unfair but you throw in Portland's history with injuries. Is this the last franchise that should be messing around with something like this?"
Marc Stein: "Yeah, exactly, I don't think that's unfair. I think that has to be at the forefront of everyone's minds. They made this number one pick that obviously everyone now is second-guessing and is saying was this huge mistake. They've got to live with that. To risk Roy too is ridiculous, there is just no justification."
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter