NBA Top 50: Brandon Roy (No. 31)
FanHouse's Tom Ziller argues his ranking of the top 50 players in the NBA.
I have already offered Monta Ellis as a Wadeian figure for your future. Those connections were made mostly in terms of offensive execution. If there's a youngster who really captures the mythos, the id of Dwyane Wade, though, it's Brandon Roy.
Roy isn't the offensive juggernaut of Wade, but does mimic as a clear two-guard who happens to be the best point guard on his team any given season. When Wade moved to the two his second season, he still remained a primary distributor, despite shooting more than any point guard does these days. As Roy has developed in his role with Portland, he straddles the line between primary playmaker and primary scorer, as well.
As I said, Wade is much more plush weapon. No one would bat an eye if Wade led the league in scoring ... Roy may struggle to ever average so much as 22/game. It's not an indictment per se (OK, it's a small indictment), it's just an indication of how well-rounded Roy is to be imperfect as scorer but so strong in total. And that strength, in large part, comes from his strength: his ability to muscle opposing twos and threes is apparent in almost every match-up, and his strength of mind keeps his mistakes (bad shots, turnovers, missed opportunities) to a minimum. Roy protects the ball excellently for someone who makes so many positive plays.
Roy's shooting keeps him from reaching higher at this time. Roy could certainly use Wade's lesson about the value of free throws -- if Roy forces himself to draw six or so FTAs every single game, he'll be much more potent offensively. That might be difficult with Greg Oden stepping in this season, but it's a worthwhile goal for the team's progress.
I think Roy is far from a perfect player objectively, but his performance to date at Washington and in Portland brings up a lot of subjective reactions, even for seamheads like me. I mean, you see this guy as a potential Finals MVP, right? You can imagine him drawing the crucial foul in a big game, or getting the monster stop, or hitting a massive shot. I'm not sure how to square that with rational leanings which tell me you don't know a Finals MVP until you see him commit MVP actions in the Finals. STOP PLAYING WITH MY MIND BRANDON ROY.