Brandon Roy is expected to play a key role in Portland’s rebuild. (Brian Spurlock)
Brandon Roy, selected sixth overall out of the University of Washington, was taken by Minnesota and then flipped to Portland for the rights to the No. 7 pick, which the Trail Blazers got via trade with the Celtics. Got that straight? Summary: Brandon is now a Blazer.
Roy entered his senior season with the Huskies on the 50-man pre-season Wooden Award watch list. Many expected him to step up after he showed signs of breaking out in a junior season cut short by injury. Roy averaged 24 PPG for his first two games as a junior, but he tore the meniscus in his left knee, costing him nine games, and he was never able to really get back into the starting rotation. He wound up averaging almost 13 points with five rebounds and over two assists in over 24 minutes per game.
This past season, everything came together for Roy and he really landed on the prospect map. The 6’6″, 210-pound guard set career highs across the board with almost 32 MPG, over 20 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 4.1 APG, 1.8 A/T ratio, 1.4 SPG, almost a block per game, 81 per cent free throw shooting and over 40 per cent three-point shooting (39 successful treys). At the end of December, Roy went berserk with back-to-back 35-point games and that definitely opened some eyes. His ability to step up in key situations during big games definitely helps compensate for whatever tools he lacks.
It’s possible that no one improved his draft stock more in 2006 than the slasher Roy. Heading into the year he looked like a late first-rounder, but wound up being a lottery pick.
Roy also had an impressive high school career, averaging almost 19 points with 5.5 boards per game as a junior and then over 22 points with 10.4 rebounds as a senior. In fact, after his senior season in 2002 he was originally listed as an early candidate for the draft before withdrawing his name and wisely opting for a college career. Academic and eligibility issues prevented Roy from taking the court until mid-January in his freshman season.
As a member of Portland, Roy will get to play fairly close to his native Seattle and not far from where he played college ball, of course. The Trail Blazers are undergoing a heavy-duty makeover and positioning themselves as an exciting young team that looks like it could get back to the playoffs within a year or two. Roy will be asked to play a big role in that transformation.
Roy anticipates the play well and this, combined with a strong lower body, allows him to be a good rebounder. He sees the court very well, and he does not panic with the ball in his hands. Roy is the type of player who can create his own shots, getting to the rim to score or draining mid-range pull-up jumpers. He can defeat his opponent off the dribble.
Roy’s main challenge is sinking jump shots beyond 17-18 feet. If his shooting does not improve, he’ll have a tough time playing the two-guard position. The other concern is that he may not do one single thing so well that it will be his calling card to NBA success. That may ultimately mean Roy will never be a star, but he is definitely capable of being a complementary player.
He’s expected to be a shooting guard as a pro, although he could see some action at point guard and possible small forward as well. If he exceeds expectations, Roy could wind up being as good as Manu Ginobili, but a more likely scenario is Marquis Daniels, another player who can take it to the hoop, but is limited by his shooting range. Another comparison we’ve seen for Roy is as a more talented version of Doug Christie.