The Blazers Will Only Go How Far Brandon Roy Can Take Them
After making the All-Star team the past couple of seasons, Portland’s Brandon Roy has gained national recognition for his play and the regular season success of his team. It seems as though there is nothing that Roy can’t do on the basketball court, except stay healthy. During his brief career, durability has been his number one concern having missed fifteen or more games twice for a total of fifty-four games in his four-year career. Despite the nagging injuries and playing on the West Coast, Roy has become a superstar in his own right and should be considered among the NBA’s elite. If he was in a bigger market and a bigger city, he would become a household name.
This coming season will be Roy’s fifth in the NBA and will be entering what should be the prime years of his career. Roy is surrounded by plenty of young talent, with LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum emerging alongside him. Add to that, the veteran presence of Andrew Miller and Marcus Camby and this squad has a good balance of experience and talent to do well. Roy’s been in the league long enough to know that he needs to step up as the leader of this squad. If Roy and the rest of the team can manage to stay somewhat healthy throughout the entire season, the Blazers have enough talent and depth to make it back to the playoffs, but recent history shows us that is asking for a lot.Brandon Roy joined the Game in Portland to talk about whether he is as concerned about his knees as the fans are, how good the team can be this season, and what the next step is for his career personally.
Whether he is as concerned about his knees as the fans are:
“You know the thing about me is that I have never been concerned about an injury once the surgery was done. I’ve always moved on from it, I think the biggest thing for me is sometimes I worry about future injuries but then my mom told me that, you can’t worry about things you can’t control. She said, ‘what you can control is, how can you fix it?’ My mom doesn’t know the medical terms but she goes, ‘how can you fix it?’ I really took that to heart. When I went to that, after the Lakers series, I was really down about it and that is what she said. Ever since then I said, ‘how can I prepare to have a great year and not have any injuries? I can’t worry about the ones in the past. Right now I’ve had things in my body and my body feels great and I’m looking forward to a really great year from this team.”
How good the team can be this season:
“What I thought about all summer is, how can I take pressure off my teammates? The number one thing that I came up with is that we are going to cross out the expectations part. We are going to prepare this season and we’re not going to have anybody come up to us and say, ‘You guys were saying you are going to do this and you are not there.’ We’re going to take all of that pressure off of us and we are going to prepare to be a really good team. We’re going to prepare to be as good as we possibly can and I think that is going to start with training camp. I feel like this is probably one of the most important training camps that we’ve had since I have been here because we do want to take that next step. At the same time, we’ve got to work. Work, work, work to get better. If we do that and get closer as a team and kind of get that chemistry that we’ve had a season ago. We feel like we’ve got the talent but first we have got to work to get there.”
How Rudy Fernandez fits into the team’s chemistry and what the team talks about when it comes to him:
“What I did say to Rudy was, from the jump I knew going into the situation where Rudy was a guy that we kind of had to beg to get here. I remember Kevin Pritchard coming to me saying, ‘We may need you to call Rudy’ and then I had to do a video conference saying, hey Rudy, we really want you here. I knew all those things going into the summer were affecting Rudy. It wasn’t about being traded it was about really being homesick. My thing is really trying to make Rudy as comfortable trying to be a part of this team as possible. I think some of Rudy’ talking is a lot of what we call ‘lip service’. When I saw Rudy yesterday, he was smiling. It looked to me that he was happy to be here. I think getting out there on the court, playing with them all and getting out there talking to guys and just trying to go through the whole training camp experience will bring him even closer to this team. He is a competitor and I think we will get the best out of him.”
What the next step is for his career personally:
“Well I think number one is, always staying healthy. I feel like when I’m healthy and in a rhythm I definitely feel like I am one of the top players in this league. I think the biggest thing is those guys are healthy and they are playing every night and they’re in a great rhythm so my thing is just staying health, but then off that is just continuing to learn to play with Andre and playing off the ball and trying to get better in those areas. Those are things that I worked on this summer. Usually I just work on working off the balance and working on my strength. This summer I worked a lot on playing off the ball, working on the catch and shoot more and really just working on myself mentally to get ready to try to do some big things this year.”