Just to get right to it: let’s not make Brandon Roy into Allen Iverson. Please.
Obviously, he shouldn’t have said what he said about his playing time. It wasn’t in anyone’s best interests for these comments to be out there in the open giving the John Canzanos of the world fodder. It’s a distraction the Blazers don’t need, particularly since they currently trail the Dallas Mavericks 2-0 in their Western Conference quarterfinal series.
I’m not defending Roy’s comments. It was wrong of him to call out Nate McMillan about his minutes, and it certainly gave the impression that he was placing his own interests above those of the team. But Roy isn’t that guy. We should all know that about him by now. Think about his comments as coming from someone who’s lost a loved one—the loved one in this case being the full functionality of the pair of knees that have made him wealthy and beloved. Brandon hasn’t fully come to grips with it yet. Hell, I haven’t fully come to grips with it yet, and they’re not even my knees. The name “Brandon Roy” in my mind is still associated with the humble, classy budding superstar we saw from 2006 to 2010 and in all-too-brief flashes this season. I’m not used to the one-time face of my favorite sports franchise coming off the bench and being so ineffective that Rudy Fernandez and Patty Mills are ahead of him in the rotation. I can’t imagine what it’s like for the dude who actually has to live through it.
In a few hours, the Blazers will take the floor of the Rose Garden for the first time since Roy’s comments. Given the backlash he’s received from fans on Twitter and in the comment sections of various websites in the last two days, I’m almost—almost—beginning to worry that he will be booed when he checks in. Let’s not do that. The easiest way to move on from this whole mess is to win, and this is true whether Brandon Roy is taking the big shots in the fourth quarter or sitting on the bench for all but eight minutes at the ends of quarters. This game, and series, are not a referendum on Roy’s loyalty to the team or McMillan’s division of minutes at his position. That shouldn’t be the story. If the Blazers win the series, this will be a distant memory. And if they lose, well, the lockout will give Brandon plenty of time to accept his new role.