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Player-by-Player: Brandon Roy

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Today we begin a series recapping all of the major players from this year’s squad.  We start with the heart and soul…Brandon Roy.

 

The Stats:

 

Minutes--  Last Year: 35.4  This Year:  37.7  Change:  +2.3

Points-- Last Year: 16.8  This Year: 19.1  Change:  +2.3

Field Goals Attempted--  Last Year: 13.4  This Year:  15.8  Change:  +2.4

Field Goal Percentage--  Last Year:  45.6%  This Year:  45.4%  Change:  -0.2

Three-Pointers Attempted--  Last Year: 2.6  This Year:  2.9  Change:  +0.3

Three-Point Percentage--  Last Year:  37.7%  This Year: 34.0%  Change:  -3.7%

Free Throws Attempted--  Last Year:  4.2  This Year:  5.0  Change:  +0.8

Free Throw Percentage-- Last Year:  83.8  This Year:  75.3  Change:  -8.5%

Offensive Rebounds-- Last Year:  1.0  This Year:  1.1  Change:  +0.1

Defensive Rebounds-- Last Year:  3.4   This Year:  3.6  Change:  +0.2

Overall Rebounds-- Last Year:  4.4  This Year:  4.7  Change:  +0.3

Assists-- Last Year:  4.0   This Year:  5.8   Change:  +1.8

Steals--  Last Year: 1.2   This Year:  1.1  Change:  -0.1

Blocks-- Last Year: 0.2  This Year:  0.2   Change:  0.0

Turnovers-- Last Year:  2.0  This Year:  1.8  Change:  -0.2

Assist-to-Turnover Ratio-- Last Year:  2.0 This Year:  3.2  Change:  +1.2

 

Salary Status:  1 year remaining at $3.1 million then a team option at $3.9 million.

 

The questions surrounding Roy at the beginning of the year were few and simple:

 

--Could he shoulder the leadership of the team which had so obviously been bestowed upon him with the Zach Randolph trade?

 

--Could he continue to produce when opposing defenses were keying on him night after night?

 

--Was his shooting for real?

 

--Could he improve his defense?

 

--Was he more naturally suited to being a shooting guard or point guard?

 

The first two questions were answered resoundingly.  Not only did he assume leadership of the team on and off the floor, he flourished in that role.  He led the team to better basketball and a better record than we’ve seen since the Wallace years.  His production improved overall.  He didn’t just score more, like a Kevin Martin in Sacramento, he literally lifted this team on his back and carried it offensively…directing traffic, making plays for other guys, and creating opportunities for them to score by his mere threat.  He didn’t dominate the floor consistently, but he did it enough that you have to call him a star in this league already.  If he can learn to do it every night he will become a near-superstar.  There is still no comparison between him and any other Blazer, stats be damned.

 

The shooting question was basically answered as well, with a couple of caveats.  Roy proved that he could hit shots either when open or when he really needed to.  He would go on runs where he was near unstoppable, even from the perimeter.  However his three-point percentage tumbled.  Part of this is because he handled the ball so much.  Unless you’re a Tracy McGrady-like freak it’s hard to set up your own three-pointer as the primary option.  You’re either guarded or you can get a better shot than a 23-footer.  Last season when he was a secondary option to Zach he had better looks from distance.  Still he will need to keep the threat of the long ball alive in order to preserve his diverse scoring ability.  The more mysterious drop, however, was the 8.5 percentage points lost from the free throw line.  This may be partially due to fatigue, but you have to believe some of it is either mental or plain old incaution.  As he matures into a regularly-recognized star this will become an increasing source of easy points for Brandon and the team.  He is capable of shooting at least 78-80%.  It’s an area to work on.

 

It’s hard to point to a specific improvement in Brandon’s individual defense.  The entire backcourt is lacking in this area and he’s no exception.  However it’s fair to say that the team as a whole did a much better job this year channeling players into areas where the big men could rotate and cover.  It’s also fair to say we did a much better job getting back in transition this year than we have in years past.  Brandon was part of both.  This continues to be an important area for him to address, though.

 

We got a partial answer to the "Is he a point guard?" question as well…namely:  partially.  I’m not sure Brandon or the team would be comfortable with him being the designated point alongside a non-playmaking two-guard.  In particular I don’t think they want him bringing the ball up the floor.  However in key possessions, indeed throughout much of the fourth quarter, the Blazers’ backcourt blends its distinguishing labels.  Brandon has the ball in his hands making the plays and whoever is back there with him becomes a default scorer.  That’s certain to continue through the near future at least.  Perhaps the best answer to the question overall is "When he needs to be."

 

With more minutes, more points, more assists, the scoffing at defenders whose number one priority was to stop him,  the All-Star berth, and being the number one option (and heart) of a team that made an exponential leap from the season before, it’s hard to find fault with Brandon’s progress.  As long as he continues to work at his craft as any young player should, those stretches of domination should become regular.  It’s hard to imagine Brandon Roy not fulfilling his potential and it’s hard to put a cap on what that potential could be in terms of leading this team to wins and glory.

 

The Verdict:

Blog_baby_medium

                                                

Extremely Happy Baby!

 

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)