In the world of sports, injuries are something that tend to leave fans disgusted and disappointed, especially when an ailment leaves one to wonder “what could’ve been?” In the particular case of Brandon Roy, I ponder excessively about what his career could’ve amounted to. It is my firmest belief that if he stayed healthy, Roy would currently be battling Houston Rockets star James Harden for the title of best shooting guard in the league. Roy was an all-around dynamo at the two guard position, who specialized at slyly slithering to the rim for a deuce. The knock on Roy coming out of the University of Washington was his ability to consistently knock down the outside shot, but he hushed naysayers his rookie season by shooting 37% from downtown and 45% from 10-16 feet en-route to the Rookie of the Year award in 2007.
In his hay-day (2008-2010,) Roy averaged 21.1 points, 5.2 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game for the Portland Trail Blazers. He was named an All-Star three times, and Portland made two playoff appearances in 2009 and 2010 (losing to Houston and Phoenix in the first round respectively.) Constantly nagged by injuries to both knees, Roy was relegated to a reserve role for the Blazers in the 10-11 season, and his production and demeanor were a far-cry from the confident and effective player that had taken center stage in Portland not too long ago.
However, Roy had one more outburst in him, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for the Trail Blazers. With Portland down 67-44 to the Dallas Mavericks in Game Four of their first round playoff series in the 2011 postseason, Roy absolutely took over. After going 1-for-3 through the first three quarters of the contest, Roy exploded for 18 fourth quarter points. He drilled big shot after big shot, sending the Portland crowd into an absolute frenzy. Portland won the game 84-82, but would end up losing the series to the eventual NBA champions.
This was one of Roy’s last signature performances, and I feel thankful that I got to watch it live. I think my infatuation with Roy stems from how well he and the Blazers played Kobe Bryant and my beloved Los Angeles Lakers during his time in Portland. Bryant and Roy’s head-to-head numbers aren’t jaw-dropping, but I respected Roy and Portland and how they always seemed to stymie the Lakers, especially on the road. In 13 matchup’s throughout his career, Roy was 8-5 against Bryant.
Roy’s rise as a prominent figure in the NBA landscape was cut short by injury, but it’s always good to flash back every once in awhile. It just makes me sad that with Brandon Roy we are forced to wonder “what could’ve been.”
Who should be featured in our next Flashback Friday segment? Hit me on Twitter with thoughts, opinions and suggestions! @wcboyer24