Two years ago, Brandon Roy averaged nearly 27 points and 5 rebounds in his playoff series debut. 12 months ago, he played three unimpressive playoff games before shutting things down to have surgery on his troublesome right knee. Four months ago, Roy had more surgeries on those pesky knees of his, missing more than two months worth of games before returning to the Blazers in a limited role. Last night, he played eight minutes and turned in just the second scoreless night of his career with the first coming in November of his rookie season.
As you can imagine, Roy was not too happy with what happened last night. From the Oregonian:
“There was a point in the first half, and I was thinking ‘You better not cry,”’ Roy said. “I mean, serious. I mean, there was a moment where I felt really sorry for myself. Then I was like, nah, you can’t be sorry for yourself. I’m a grown man, but there was a moment there that I felt sorry for myself. Especially when I think I can still help.”
Roy was one of the first players to leave the locker room, but when he was stopped in the hallway, the hurt and confusion were still evident.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little hurt, or disappointed,” Roy said. “But the biggest thing is to keep moving, to try and keep my spirits up. But it’s tough man. I just …. I just always thought I would be treated better. That was a little disappointing for me.” [...]
“I come in the last sub of the first quarter … then OK, I’m in there for (2:36), then I play, then it’s the end of the quarter,” Roy said. “Then I start the second and Bam! I’m right back on the bench again. I mean, I don’t know what I could have done! Then I sit, and he puts Patty and Rudy in before me. I know physically I have to play, but mentally, how do I just go …”
Roy acts like he is being put in the game, and feigns a skipping motion.
“’It’s OK! I’m going to play’ and be all giddy?”’
That’s pretty sad, for a lot of reasons.
One, it’s sad that Brandon Roy can’t really play right now. Game 1 saw Roy play 26 minutes and finish 1-7 from the field with just two points, and his Game 2 performance was just as ineffective. Not quite the Brandon Roy we remember. That’s a bummer. Which brings me to the second reason why this is sad — we don’t get to see him play anymore. Sure, he might not have been the most exciting guy all the time, but when he’d get on a roll, he was a great watch. Sucks for us that his knees are made of plaster and string cheese.
But the last reason this is sad, and probably the most important right now, is that it’s never a good thing to have your highest-paid player almost crying on the bench because the coach won’t put him in. For a team that’s down 0-2, they probably don’t need the distraction of their leader complaining that he’s not playing when he’s not going to be much of a help if he did. If this was 2009 Brandon Roy, it’s a different story. But it’s not. It’s old man knees Brandon Roy disparaging his teammates because he thinks he should be put in before them. Sorry bro, Rudy Fernandez is outplaying you because your legs don’t work.
It has to be hard for a once-elite player to realize that he’s not elite anymore. And it’s cool that Roy wants to play so bad, which says something about how much he cares about the Blazers. That is great. But the way he’s going about it — complaining to reporters when he won’t meet with his coach, indirectly slamming his teammates, saying he’ll just hang out with his wife and kids if he’s not treated better — is decidedly not great. Pretty much the opposite of great, actually. (“Taerg,” I suppose.) This sort of thing should be handled behind closed doors with Nate McMillan, not through the media while saying “I think my nature I’ve never been one to confront. Never been the one to create controversy.” Not only is that disingenuous, it’s also creating controversy for a team that doesn’t need it.
Who knows, maybe Brandon Roy will get 40 minutes in Game 3, score 28 points and lead the Blazers to victory, while proving that Nate McMillan should have given him tick in the first two games. Maybe that is the solution. But even if it is, these sort of comments aren’t helping. Losing something you care deeply about is no fun, but this makes it worse.