15 February 2010
He’s back in Portland, but he’s not back for Portland.
What began as a strained hamstring for Brandon Roy has become nothing but an annoying lingering concern for the All-Star guard.
Roy doesn’t know when he’ll be back for the Blazers. And now after missing 14 of the last 15 games, the Blazers don’t even know when Roy will step on the floor again. Here’s what Portland does know - from the franchise to the die hard fans: if the Blazers are going to remain in the playoff picture in the Western Conference, Roy has to be part of that vision soon.
Very soon. Portland plays five of their next eight games on the road where the Blazers are 13-13. Out of those eight games, five are against playoff teams (Boston, Utah, at Toronto, at Chicago, at Memphis).
“There is a possibility this is a playoff team, so we’re trying to figure out how to slow him down a little bit. We haven’t found out yet,” said Los Angeles Lakers head coach Phil Jackson of Roy.
“I like his composure and the way he plays and the attitude he carries on the floor.”
The trouble is, Roy’s absence is painfully obvious as Andre Miller and LaMarcus Aldridge attempt to shoulder a load they weren’t built to carry without him - even if the two were paid this offseason to do exactly that. Miller can step up his scoring. Aldridge can string together some solid quarters. But if Roy isn’t available, Portland’s postseason chances could start to slip away in a tough West. No Roy. No chance.
Now after a long All-Star Weekend in Dallas, Roy can finally get his rest before getting ready to return.
“You can’t be that good if you don’t have that in you – the preparation,” began Nate McMillan, before explaining what sets Roy apart.
“He feels he can do pretty much anything he wants against guys on the floor. He’s continued to learn and not get frustrated against double teams, because he’s starting to see that every night – trapping and teams trying to take him out. You still have to put up team ball, but you still have to put up those numbers because the team needs you to do so.”
The past couple weeks, Roy has watched from the sidelines – which Roy admitted is extremely difficult. Yet that frustration is felt throughout the organization.
“He’s willing to accept responsibility for winning or failure of the team,” said General Manager Kevin Pritchard.
“I don’t care if he makes it or misses it. I just want him to shoot it because there’s a greater chance of success with Brandon shooting.”
To do that, they need him back on the floor first.
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