Friday, December 19, 2008

The King And I

Roy Hobbs was The Natural.

Roi is the French word for King.

Brandon Roy is often referred to with the title, The Natural, and he just took his place in Blazers Royalty with a 52-point performance on Thursday night against the Phoenix Suns.

Roy is a gifted basketball player. He can score, shoot, pass, defend, handle the ball, penetrate and create his own shot. He has no weakness. He doesn’t make many mistakes and the ones he does are minor. He has a superior basketball mind and is tough mentally to take over games.

I’ve been surprised by Roy at every turn. Coming out of the University of Washington (I hate UW) he had some promise but most of us didn’t know much about him. His teams at UW were very good his last two years and he was an All-American. He stayed in school for all four years and it showed when he reached the pros.

His rookie year he looked like a very solid, but unspectacular player. He did a lot of good things on the court, but I figured this was what he was. 17 points per game, decent shooting, 4 rebounds, 4 assists. Good numbers for the #2 guy on a team, which is what I figured he would be.

His second season, they turned the team over to him and almost all of his numbers improved. He made the All-Star team. Again, I said to myself that this was the best we’d see from Roy. He’d be just less than 20 points per game and just fewer than 5 rebounds and 5 boards. But he still wasn’t displaying the athleticism that most game-changing players provide.

I was so wrong about him.

This season he is taking the burden of this entire franchise on his back and he is thriving. 23.4 points per game, leadership, game changing performances night in and night out and he’s currently having the best stretch of any Blazers player since Clyde Drexler in the early 90’s. Maybe the best stretch ever. I didn’t think he had another level to go to and he clearly does. I’m trying to find a single player to compare him to and am failing. There may not be a direct comparison available. He’s part Larry Bird, part Terry Porter, part Gary Payton, part Reggie Miller.

It’s so fun being a Blazers fan these days.

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