NBA / Oct 15, 2010 / 11:00 am

Brandon Roy: “I Want The Ball A Lot More”

Brandon Roy (photo. Aaron Hewitt)

In an NBA offseason where certain fan-friendly stars — e.g. LeBron, Carmelo, Chris Paul — have had their images altered in public opinion via free-agent moves and rumored trade demands, the last guy you’d expect to cross over to the “me” side is Brandon Roy.

The franchise superstar of the Portland Trail Blazers has been one of the NBA’s signature “good guys” ever since he burst onto the scene as the 2007 Rookie of the Year and brought his team back to prominence and likability following the “Jail Blazers” era. Fans and media love B-Roy for his easy-going nature, nice-guy demeanor, throwback-style game, and knack for always saying the right things and being humble in interviews.

But losing can bring out the diva in any ballplayer.

Through the first four games of the preseason the Blazers are 1-3, and Roy publicly displayed his discomfort with the situation in front of the Portland media at practice earlier in the week.

“I want the ball a lot more,” Roy was quoted by the Oregonian. “I want to be maximized every game. That’s a position that I’m strong with, with the basketball, and I’m extremely confident with it.”

As if the message wasn’t clear enough that he has a bone to pick with Portland coach Nate McMillan, Roy went on.

“We haven’t really put in the offense we’re used to working with,” Roy said. “The first three games, we didn’t even have an offensive play. We’re not really the type of team that plays loose. I don’t play loose. I kind of need some plays, some organization there. That’s some of the reason why I think we’re not panicking, because we’re not really running plays yet.”

There’s no question that franchise players want the basketball in their hands, but asking for it even more — especially when you’re surrounded by playmakers — might be a little too much. With four seasons under his belt, Roy has averaged 15.7 shot attempts per game, and I would go as far as to name him the third-best shooting guard in the NBA behind Kobe (19.3) and Dwyane Wade (18.4). As a ball-dominant two-guard, Roy has the ball in his hands as much as almost any of his peers at the position.

After listening to his interview, to me it sounded like Roy is uncomfortable playing alongside Andre Miller — which means he likely preferred Steve Blake‘s standstill shooting — and that he lacks confidence in his teammates to make plays. Or he recently read Keyshawn Johnson‘s book, Just Give Me The Damn Ball.

For Roy to dominate the ball even more would be detriment to his health on the court. As he stated, attacking the basket is his style of play, but not only would he be taking more hard fouls and landing frequently on his back — which he does already — he would also be taking away opportunities from his teammates such as Nic Batum and Wesley Matthews, who are defensive-minded players, to develop their respective offensive games. Roy also stated that he prefers the pick-and-roll and isolation plays, which work for players who prefer to shoot first and pass later unless they’re double-teamed. But that would just give the defense the upper hand and makes it easier to stop, which was evident the past two years during the playoffs for Portland.

Playing along side ‘Dre can’t be that bad, can it? After all, Roy attempted jump shots 74 percent of the time last season, but was assisted on 38 percent of them.

Is Brandon Roy part of the problem with Portland’s offense? Think about it for a second: In his interview he stated that he doesn’t play loose, but if he noticed the type of players on his team, he should reconsider. When you have players like Rudy Fernandez, Jerryd Bayless, Greg Oden, Andre Miller (the distributor), and LaMarcus Aldridge, those are the type of guys who are built for running the floor, making explosive drives to the basket, and tossing up lob passes like a Frisbee.

McMillan has preached defense in Portland, and I don’t expect him to allow this offense to play more loosely, especially with the risks of 1-on-1 basketball and the lack of team play. With the type of offense Roy wants to run, he’s starting to look like Allen Iverson — someone who is unwilling to sublimate himself for the sake of the team and would rather have Portland try and work around him, which points to a lot of first round exits and an eventual “injury prone” label slapped on Roy.

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  • jace

    he should shut up more.

    yea his image in my eye has changed.. maybe not like an allen iverson type… since this is the first ive heard about this talk..

    but this type of thing could have been done behind closed doors.. meaning he wanted the attention of everyone.. hes already on a winning ballclub.. obviously successful, despite the injury curse looming.. yet he wants to change it up like that.. and bring it to national attention? dick move, b-roy

    couldve easily just said u wanted it more to the coach.. and he probably wouldve found a balance between the two. when you have a widely respected and highly successful coach, im thinkin he knows a thing or two.

  • Hucklebuck

    Brandon Roy is a good play, All-Star player.

    but he should NOT be demanding the ball more.
    He is in that old Kobe/A.I./Lebron thing of getting the ball and everyone else standing and watching.

    I HATE guys who do that. when the shot clock runs down, game on the line, yes. but when its mid-2nd quarter, no.

    he should become a better and more dangerous player by learning how to play WITHOUT the ball. MUCH easier. Reggie Miller lasted in the league FOREVER by running around screens, catching and shooting. he had the ball in his hands for less than a second and was able to become the all-time leader in 3s.

    in the words of Ed Lover..C’MON SON!

  • Hucklebuck

    oops, Brandon Roy is a good PLAYER. my bad.

    by the way, if he wants the ball that much, tell him to go play pickup somewhere.

  • shuttles

    Come on man, the AI comparison is reaching pretty far here. I don’t see how what he is saying is that bad and I think he’s right. B-Roy is a very efficient player who makes good decisions and he should have the ball in his hands most of the time. He’s also pretty lousy at playing off the ball. The Miller signing was a mistake obviously, just not a good fit with B-Roy, but they should bring Miller off the bench or something so both guys can maximize the amount of time they can run the offense.

    Also disagree that the Blazers players are made for running the floor and playing loose. They are a halfcourt team. Bayless and Fernandez kinda suck and Miller ain’t great either. Oden isn’t gonna be running out on the wings much. Aldridge can get up and down but he’s got pretty good offensive moves in the halfcourt and is a good jumpshooter.

  • http://www.dimemag.com Andrew Macaluso

    @ shuttles

    I’m not comparing Roy to Iverson, I’m comparing his not wanting to change his style of play for the sake of the team and Iverson is the first person I think of when it comes to a situation like that. Bayless and Fernandez don’t suck, they’re built for running the floor, that’s why they don’t look good in the half court.

  • shuttles

    Well B-Roy isn’t the only one that’s preventing the Blazers from being an up and down team. That’s not McMillan’s style at all and I don’t see that changing. Still don’t think Bayless or Fernandez are any good – I’d rather have guys that can be good by themselves over guys that need to play for a team like the Suns or the Warriors.

    I think the biggest thing B-Roy needs to change about his style of play is moving without the ball. He’s pretty bad at that. But as someone who has watched quite a few blazers games I believe he is clearly their best playmaker and should be the one initiating the offense most of the time.

  • LakeShow84

    HONESTLY

    Ive always looked at Roy like he needs to be more assertive.. I looked at it like more of a youngster type thing that he needed to develope that kind of attitude.. i mean Andre Miller is more assertive?? no bueno..

    If i was McMillan i would be happy my best player is basically saying “gimme the ball and let the season ride on my shoulders”..

  • jrav

    Greg Oden is made to run?

  • http://www.dimemag.com Andrew Macaluso

    @ jrav

    Oden is fast and explosive for a guy his size. He can run the floor and fast break pretty well, too.

  • shaw32

    Greg Oden isn’t made to walk how would he play in an uptempo pace. Miller was a mistake! The problem is Roy and Miller aren’t meshing off the court start Bayless even though he needs shots Roy and him are very close. I once read they think of playing along side each other both Às All-Stars. They even said similar to Lebron and Mo-wiliiams.Simply by playing Bayless with Roy I think the offense will run smoother.

  • KCL

    BRoy wants the ball cuz his teammates NEVER step up when its their time. Rudy, Bayless and even Batum had ample opportunities to get their shots up and provide for the offense but they either blew it or just defered to Roy anyways. Roys the leader and he’s gonna get the ball whenever he wants thats the deal the fact that Nate isn’t even implamenting a offensive scheme yet shows how its all about the DEFENSE as if you couldn’t tell with teams like Boston, LA and Spurs running the league for the last decade if Rudy, LA, Bayless, Batum ever want to step up and be that 3rd man we need they have the opportunity but dont blame the best player for just trying to get the job done cuz he knows he can and HAS. Also don’t agree that BRoy is uncomfortable with Miller even tho Blake was a personal better fit but Miller was at times the only guy that the Blazers could count on to get points last year where blake turned into strickly a 3 point shooter real fast, I dont think shipping out the only consistent guy on the roster is gonna fix this “problem”

  • Promoman

    I’d agree with Brandon being seen as the 3rd best SG in the NBA. What keeps him from being truly elite is his injury history and his defense. He’ll play some but he’s not Kobe or Dwyane Wade level. I wouldn’t clown Andre Miller. He could start on nearly any team in the league, he’s one of the best in the league at running an offense, and he doesn’t jack like most PGs think that should do just because they’re short. He’s player who should have the ball.

  • Romy

    Andy,

    I had to jump in this discussion because of it being about my blazers. In all honesty, i have no problem with brandon saying this type of stuff, because he is the face of the organization, along with oden if he can ever get healthy, and he is definitely the best scoring option we have right now. The andre miller experiment hopefully will end soon, and maybe bayless can be given more minutes to play of roy, because bayless is a good player.

    The only thing i disagree with in this article is when its said that roy needs to run with his team so he can fit into what they need to do, but i think the team needs to play around the strengths of their best player, which roy is. And an injury prone team, like the blazers are, definitely shouldnt be run and gun. While i would love to see the team play at a higher tempo, i dont think it needs to be changed dramatically.

    Just my two cents though…loved reading it though. Keep it up man

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  • mess

    nice article

  • Stunnaboy2K11

    Roy has a point…

    Playing Roy with Andre Miller was stupid, when your best player needs the ball, guess what? YOU GIVE HIM IT.

    I hope Bayless gets some burn, he can hit the 3 and showed he can play with Roy.

  • Larry

    He needs the ball more.

  • HeatWave4Life

    Brandon wants the ball more…Let’s see him stay healthy first.

  • Jade

    I think his comments have been misconstrued. IMO, he was talking more about his mindset about going to work in 4th quarter and clutch situations.

    All games I have seen him play, the dude is definitely a shoot-first guy but doesn’t exactly jack them up. He’s got a good head on his shoulders and does pass outta double teams or ridiculous shots. Thats a major difference to what AI used to do -> jack up shots no matter what !!!

    Plus, I think you need talk like that from your main man…to make sure he knows that other teams will be gunning for him and he will have to back up what he’s saying. And I think he can manage it !!!

  • killabee

    Man F U dude. You’re just trying to start sh*t. B-roy is the man and you know the biggest complaint about him last season was that he was too focused on giving the ball to his teammates when he should have been pulling out the W. Just shut up dude

  • Hydro

    Wow Dime has a knack for spinning the fuck out of some shit.

    B-Roy complains about lack of plays so now he has a bone to pick with coach McMillan? Wowww talk about the media fishing for a sound byte. That defines so many Dime articles.

    & B-roy is right to demand the ball. its good to see hes not being too much team when he is the man on the team.

  • ??

    @Macaluso

    I think you got this one wrong. This isnt Brandon Roy being a “diva”. Far from it, Nate McMillan has always wanted Roy to be more aggressive with the basketball, he always wanted Roy to dominate the offense because he is their best player.

    Also, you should consider the context. This is preseason. Brandon Roy is simply talking about how he wants the offense for this season to go. he is not being a diva at all. Coach Nate has always wanted this kind of assertiveness and identity from Roy.

    So I really think you interpreted this one wrong. Brandon Roy is not being a “DIVA”, he’s being confident, assertive, and he’s taking charge. BLAZER FANS are happy about this statement.

  • http://www.dimemag.com Andrew Macaluso

    @??

    I think you should watch the video to get a better understanding of his comments. Judging by the way he talked about ‘Dre Miller, I would say he was complaining a little bit.

  • http://www.dimemag.com Andrew Macaluso

    Judging by the way he talked during his interview along with his body language, he still could have kept everything he said inside and talked to McMillan or someone else in the front office. You don’t go running to the media in hopes of them fixing your problems.

  • Joe’s Momma

    This is Roy saying he doesn’t want to play with Dre Miller. They just don’t mesh. Dre is a pure pg that gets guys in their spots, BRoy is a guard that creates for himself, he doesn’t want to be set up.

    Miller is getting traded, or he isn’t with the team next year (team option) because Roy is gonna get whatever he wants.

    They should have gone after Steve Blake, he was perfect for what they needed, stretches the floor, plays with intensity, fits the system, and Roy absolutely loves him.

  • killabee

    Do you actually think he called a reporter to get this in the news