Q and A with Brandon Roy
This latest road trip is underway. Given the fact that Brandon Roy's knee has become just about the only topic of conversation in Blazernation, it's time to address it. I always feel a straight question-and-answer interview is the best way to get to the bottom of things.
After arriving in Oklahoma City on Thursday afternoon, the Trail Blazers practiced. After practice we grabbed Brandon and headed for his hotel room. We shot a one-on-one interview that will be shown during halftime of Friday night's game against the Thunder. Then, the entire interview (including what gets cut due to time constraints on TV) will be posted on trailblazers.tv
But, rather than wait until then, I decided to type the interview into the laptop and post it on this blog. Hopefully it's informational, interesting, and helps answer a few lingering questions as we head into another difficult trip.
MB: Odd season so far. It seems like there’s been a lot of drama already. Given all of the injuries and whatnot, and the difficult start to the schedule, how has it felt?
Roy: It has felt strange, because we’re only nine games in and it feels like we’ve dealt with a lot. Not to harp on some of the things that have happened in the past. I think this team is coming together. We’ve got a really deep team and we feel like once the season settles maybe some of that drama will continue to flow out a little bit.
MB: Odd start with playing that first game at home, and then going east for four. Does the schedule bother you guys at all, or do you just play the games in front of you and not worry about it.
Roy: We pay attention to it, but at the same time there’s nothing you can do about it. You just play whatever team is in front of you. But, it was strange to play your home opener, and then go from L.A. to New York on the same road trip. We were successful on it. I think the reason why is that we just focused in on the games and not the schedule and the travel. That’s part of maturing. We’re more mature guys, a little older. Just not making excuses and just going out to play.
MB: A couple of things involving you have blown up pretty good. Have they been blown out of proportion? First of all, you saying during the preseason that you’d like the ball a little more, that ‘I’d like it to go through me a little more,’ and then this situation involving your knee. Has this stuff been overplayed a little bit?
Roy: I’ve been noticing a lot of things getting a little more attention than maybe I thought they would when I said them. But, about wanting the ball more, I just wanted to be more of a facilitator. I thought I could help create more offense for this team. It was never meant to be taken in a bad way. I think that I can help this team with the ball more. It wasn’t to shoot more. It was never to say that I want to go out and shoot more. But, with the knee, it’s just a situation where my minutes were really high there. Me and coach talked about my minutes in July during the summer time. He said you know I really want to keep you at 35-36 minutes this year. When they started to get into the 40 range, I just wanted to remind him about it. My knee is something that we’ve kind of had to deal with for a couple of years here. It’s just trying to keep me healthy. We feel like this is the best way to keep me strong throughout an 82-game season.
MB: Has it limited you at all? Have there been things you’ve tried to do and couldn’t do? Because the implication is that all of a sudden you’re a different player.
Roy: I wouldn’t say I’m a different player. With any injury you have to somewhat adjust your game. I’ve been trying to pick my spots out there on the court. Not just for my knees, but for my overall health. The first conversation I ever had with Clyde Drexler, he said, “man, you’re a good player, but you’re attacking that basket too much.” He said “work on your pull-up jumper a little bit more and take some of that wear and tear off your body.” I just try and remember those things that veterans have said to me in the past, and I’m trying to add those into my game. My thing is I’m always going to try and give 110 percent out there to help this team win. I don’t want to put the concentration on my knee. I’d rather it be on this team, and we’re 6-3 right now.
MB: You’ve had some good games so far- the 29 at New York, and 26 the other night against Toronto. It’s not like we’ve seen drastically different results from you so far.
Roy: Yeah. The biggest thing is, I’ve been able to adjust throughout my career. Whether it’s been in college coming off the bench, or in the NBA dealing with an ankle injury or a hamstring. You just have to adjust out on the court. The knee will hopefully calm down. I think it’s just flared up. After talking to the doctor, he was like “you seem to come to me every year during the first month of the season to talk about this.” Then it settles down. That’s where we’re hoping it goes, that it settles down and I go back to playing my normal ways.
MB: That’s where this schedule comes in. You play five games in seven nights in the second week of the season. It’s very early in the season. You’ve been a guy who’s gotten stronger as the season has gone on. Is it a process of getting up to speed, and almost breaking your body in a little bit?
Roy: Yeah, I think so. You know I was a four-year guy, and I’m not really a rookie anymore where you just come in your body is ready. I remember early in my career watching San Antonio, and some of those teams, and it always seemed that they started picking it up as the season went along. They didn’t necessarily come in right away. So, I’m noticing that with my body. It’s taking me a little more time to break in. But, we don’t decide the schedule. I think right now, we’ve played a lot of games early and we wanted to win those games. So, me and LaMarcus played a lot of minutes. As the schedule will begins to balance out we’ll look stronger and hopefully I’ll look stronger.
MB: So, is your knee a huge concern to you, maybe more than it’s been in the past, right now? Or, is this just business as usual for you?
Roy: I would say I’m slightly more concerned, but not where it’s like ‘oh no, what about the rest of the season….’ It’s just a concern that I have, and most of that is because we just played five games in seven nights and I was averaging 41 minutes. I don’t think I’ve ever done that in the NBA. So, some of that is.. once the schedule calms down and we get a couple more days off between games, then I think things will hopefully go back to normal.
MB: And to come through that stretch and be in first place in the Northwest Division.. all things considered, that’s pretty good. It’s been overshadowed, but that’s pretty good.
Roy: I do think it’s been overshadowed, to the public anyway. But, to this team, all we talk about is where we want to be in the standings. We’re not sitting around saying ‘Brandon, how’s your knee?’ The focus is on this team and getting better. That’s where, with our fans, I hope we keep the focus on this team. We’ve got a really good team. It may not be Brandon Roy averaging 23 points, but we’ve got a really good team. I think we can really be successful.
MB: But, you’re at 20 points per game..
Roy: Yeah, (laughing) that’s still pretty good. I think LaMarcus will continue to emerge, and I think with my minutes going down a bit it’ll be able to get Rudy more involved. I feel he can really help us. Wesley Matthews getting more minutes, and Nicolas is playing better. So, the goal is continue to be an all-around team, and I feel like that’s going to be good for us.
MB: So, you guys as a team have more options. And individual players’ games evolve depending on who’s around them. Is that kind of how you feel?
Roy: Yeah. I think we’ve all had to adjust. I’ve had to adjust. And, not just because of my knee, but because of the talent we’ve got around. With Dre’ coming in and providing some of the stuff he does, I don’t have to do that as much. Then with Nicolas, I think he’s scoring the ball more, and playing defense. So, we’ve got guys who have just continued to get better and better, and I want the focus to be on that and not singling out individual players for maybe not doing as much as they’ve done in the past, because we don’t necessarily have to.
MB: And, you know that going in each night the opposing defenses are all focused on you, and you get the toughest defender. A lot was made of the Laker game, and the fact that Ron Artest had success against you.
Roy: Even though people may say this or that about my knee, there are still a lot of possessions where if I don’t have the ball I can create offense. Guys are still double-teaming, and game plans are still set to take myself and LaMarcus out. As long as we can still command double teams we’re still pretty good. Every coach wants players who command double teams because that makes it easier on the team. I know I can still go out there and make plays to help this team.
MB: So, in the short term, you don’t predict any huge changes to your minutes or your game than what we’ve seen lately?
Roy: No. And, when we went to the minutes we were saying let’s go from 41 to 35, in that range. I think everybody maybe panicked a little bit. Then, the 20 minutes I played in the last game maybe scared everybody. But, I could have played more than 20 minutes. I could have played 40 minutes. The key is to get that average at about 35 throughout the year.
MB: Thanks Brandon.
Roy: Thank you.
Again, the interview can be seen at halftime of Friday's game at Oklahoma City. The complete interview can be seen, after the game, on trailblazers.tv.