Dec 01

Nobody Knows You When You're Down

By caseyholdahl Posted in: BrandonRoy
There’s been a fair amount of chatter about Brandon Roy being selfish. The guy has been a consummate team player, carrying the weight of this team the past three seasons as they’ve overachieved their way to respectability.  He’s done everything that the organization has asked of him.

Along the way he’s earned awards, All-Star appearances and contract extensions because he’s done things the right way. And now to hear him labeled as some kind of me-first prima donna is simply mindboggling. I can literally feel my brain trying to punish itself by colliding into the side of my skull repeatedly in retaliation for wasting brain cells on trying to fathom how people could come to such laughable conclusions.

But tonight, I think I figured out where people are coming from. Don’t get me wrong; the conclusion that Roy is anything but one of the best things to happen to this franchise is still preposterous, but I think I’m onto the reason why some so badly misconstrue his motives.

Brandon Roy talks too much about himself.

For example, take his comments after the Trail Blazers lost their third-straight game, this time to the Miami Heat. Portland once again allowed their opponent to shoot better than 50 percent from the field, which is as sure-fire a way to lose as there is in the NBA. And that boils down to team defense. No one individual can be responsible for an opponents shooting percentage.

But Roy didn’t talk much about the team. He talked about himself.

“I think I’ve got to play better for 48 minutes,” said Roy. “We’ve got to start to establish some type of rhythm where we’re not playing well in spots and not scoring in stretches and then our defense gets pretty bad. But I’ve got to start playing much better, and hopefully I can do that Saturday.”

The nerve! Taking responsibility for your own play? How dare he.

But it didn’t stop there.

Said Roy: “I just feel like I didn’t make the plays tonight and I think I need to keep working at it and try to find my rhythm because I think it’s going to help this team.”

So many “I” statements. I didn’t make plays. I need to keep working. Focusing on what he needs to do? Is that selfish?

But wait, there’s more!

“I realized tonight that I’ve got to get better,” said Roy. “I’ve got to get into the gym and continue to work because I see some things that I could have done out there but I just wasn’t able to make some of the shots and make some of the reads. I think I’ve got to improve. Don’t get me wrong, the team has to get better but I still think there’s room for me to improve to help this team.”

He did talk about the team toward the end of that quote. Maybe that will earn him some slack. It doesn’t seem like being the go-to guy on and off the court for the past three years has earned him much leeway from some fans out there, but maybe mentioning team rather than taking complete and total responsibility for the loss will help.

But if you’re still feeling like Brandon could be doing more to earn your respect, keep reading.

“I think I got caught up in looking around too much instead of looking at myself and what I’ve got to do to help this team,” said Roy. “I’ve got to keep getting better … I just feel like I’ve been thinking too much or looking for a lot of different reasons instead of just looking at myself. I’ve got to get back to going out there and playing and not worrying about pointing fingers or this and that. I’ve just got to get back to being me and that’s how I’ve always been. I started to realize that over the last couple of days and especially tonight. I’ve got to get in the gym working and try to turn this around.”

A heartfelt admission that he “got caught up looking around.” Another declaration that he needs to improve. A mea culpa when it comes to “pointing fingers.” What brought on this moment of self-reflection?

“Just a lot of talking about this and offense and can you and Greg play and can you and Andre play,” said Roy. “I’ve got to play. I’ve got to get better. I’ve got to make the plays I’ve been able to make in the past. I’m capable of it, it’s just my mind has been in a lot of places and now I’ve got to just get focused on this team and just getting that hunger back. I hate to lose so I feel like I’ve got to get out there, be aggressive and confident. I haven’t been very confident lately and I think guys can tell that. I’ve got to get my confidence back and I think the rest of the team will see it.”

That last sentence is the reason why I find the Brandon-Roy-as-selfish-ogre narrative so perplexing. This team feeds off of Roy. They follow his lead. When he’s in a grove, the rest of the team has a much better chance of doing the same.

It’s not selfish to know your own importance. The real selfishness is in denying said importance, something Roy refuses to do. He could let himself off the hook by devaluing what he does for the Trail Blazers. He could step aside, contract in tow, and play out his days in Portland while ceding the responsibility of leadership to someone else. It’s been done before.

But not by Brandon. Not now. Now ever. He’ll suffer the criticism and he’ll take the heat, but he’s not going to take the easy way out.


  1. This should be printed in the Oregonian tomorrow so more "fans" can read it. But this is almost expected, as in football, the win is credited to the quarterback, and a loss is blamed on him, i feel as Roy is the face of the team so he gets blamed when the L's start racking up. That said, he does not seem him self this season, the drives to the basket, the mid-range jumpers.. Are just a little off. I have confidence the team and management will get it together soon and we can see what all the talent on this team is capable of. And we will also see all the people calling Roy selfish, out there cheering him on.

    by soulraver on 12/2/2009 2:56 AM
  2. Is Roy nursing an injury that isn't being made public or did he pull something last night? I ask only because he just looked off-balance a lot of times in the 2nd half and wasn't himself. He didn't look 100%. I hope it was just fatigue and nothing serious.

    by DHawes22 on 12/2/2009 8:46 AM
  3. Brandon did bang knees last night might be why you saw him alittle off balance in the second half.

    Trade Brandon Roy thats just crazy. Who would say such a thing. I dont understand why there are so many bandwagon fans. The fact of the matter is we are a 12-8 team right now. I understand we all want that record to be better and i think it will be. Its funny though that people talk about the Nicks and the Nets and say that there record doesnt complament the team. I can tell you the blazers are better than there record.

    This team will establish greatness. But people need to stop exspecting us to be a championship team right now. Im not saying we wont be or cant be. I am saying we are young and if we stay together and do not make many trades this team has the talent to be a five time champion ship team. KP a plan it wasnt a 1 year or 2 year or even a 3 year plan his plan was if i remember right within 5 years he want a ring.

    You know the funny thing is we have 3 or role players on the bench right now or do people forget that. Yes we are a deap team. But people learn how to play with certain people they just know what there going to do and were there going to be. Granit as a pro you need to adapt and do it fast to play any one. But when people keep coming up hurt its hard to get a plan the works and stick with it.

    well thats it for now
    True fan go blazers

    by Avgjoe28 on 12/2/2009 9:37 AM
  4. Wow!!!
    I have the greatest respect in the world for you, your insight, humor and the belief in the Blazers. You have out done yourself on this one.

    I just posted on Barrett's Blog attacking Nate and BRoy head hunters and OR-Live bloggers on their witch hunts. I should have read this first and copied and pasted your article and saved my self a lot of typing plus you said it so much better. I will get a lot of slack for my ranting, but now, I can just refer them to your article

    Being as open as BRoy is, should be commendable not labeled as being selfish. But, the fan's that are unhappy and don't know who or where to point fingers will take a open statement of BRoy's to make a conclusion that it is all BRoy's fault because he said so. That is so far from the truth that it hurts.

    Everybody should know that the first thing to solving the problem is looking for the reasons. I am sure he can see things the rest of the team is doing, but he is not able to correct that. He can only do the things that he can do to help solve the problem and that is trying to correct him which in my opinion isn't that much to fix.

    More sarcasm: It is horrible that he does NOT go to and finish at the rim like he did last year. He just got all that money and doesn't care. Last year when he drove to the rim he had one or two players on him. This year because Steve's out side shooting isn't up to par and Greg demanding attention when they go to the rim they have five defensive players to go through. I don't see why he can't do the same against 5 as he does against 1 or 2. Do you?

    Thank you for this great article, I know BRoy's openness will not fix what is wrong, I do know these are all hungry players and with time and practice they will get the synergy with the new players. BRoy's Openness is the first step. Taking responsibility for his play is a big step to being a team leader.


    by Hg on 12/2/2009 10:23 AM
  5. Great reflection Casey. I am in the same frame of mind when it comes to Roy. I will not go further wit hthis because you have stated what is in my mind about Roy. In fact none of the talk about him was even registering in my mind as it is all Media nonsense. I thank you for setting the tone on this non issue.

    I was wondering if you got my E-mail address? After yesterdays Chalk Talk a person came on and asked for my E-mail so you could send me the hat I won. If you did not get it, please contact me here. Once again thank you.

    by LTG on 12/2/2009 12:49 PM
  6. DHawes22: It looked like he tweaked something during last night's game, but he seemed fine today at practice.

    LTG: I did get your email address. Expect a reply today

    And everyone else, thanks for commenting!

    by caseyholdahl on 12/2/2009 2:13 PM
  7. Casey, I know you are mega busy. I did not want t ocome off sounding like a greedy Its jus tthat the Chalk Talk got disconnected so I did not know if the person got my response.

    Thank you again..You have no idea what an honor this seemingly small reward means to me. You guys are fantastic.

    by LTG on 12/2/2009 4:21 PM
  8. If this team "feeds off Brandon" then maybe that would explain our lack of defense. He seems so dis-interested in defense sometimes it's just mind-boggling. Like Roy himself said, "this team feeds off me and LaMarcus." Well when neither of you are taking defense seriously, and making big G.O. clean up all the messes, it's going to make everyone else do the same.

    Just watch, the day Brandon Roy & LaMarcus Aldridge take defense seriously for 48 minutes is the day this franchise turns from pretender to contender.

    by Blazer_Dawg on 12/2/2009 5:58 PM
  9. I am perplexed to by the selfish Roy meme that has sprung up. I think you are right, some of that is he is willing to be self critical in the media, part of it is his personal confusion about shifting roles. He is still the go to guy, but nobody has helped him connect with how he needs to adjust his play to work better with an emerging oden. Playing SF all game does not suit him either, particularly on the defensive end.

    Not only does he need to learn to work with a real back to the basket center, probably for the first time in his life, but he has spent much of the season in an unfamiliar position, then switched back...then in games the rotations have him in constantly differeing postions seems like it caught him off guard a bit.

    The last thing and the thing that I think got the Roy selfish meme going, was his backing of Blake as the starter, and saying that he prefers Blake as he knows the spacing and yada yada yada. I get what Roy is saying, but Andre brings more to the table at PG and should be our starter. Loads of people think that Andre off the bench is a dumb dumb move and they see Roy's personal comments on the issue, in combination with the quotes you detail above, as worrying about his production more than the team. Add the lackluster play on his part, by his own assessment and people are a bit restless.

    by pdxbuckeye on 12/2/2009 6:49 PM
  10. First, let me say that I'm completely with you, and I think the people crying "trade Roy" haven't been watching Blazer ball for more than a year or two - cause they have no clue what the dark days were like.

    But - let me throw a wrench at you. Listen to Kobe Bryant's post-game interview, after a win or after a loss. There are no "I" statements. There are "we" statements. And you know that with every "we" he says, he intends to apply that "need to" personally to himself, but he also completely expects his team to meet the mark he's setting.

    This is the difference between an MVP with a title, and an All-Star on a struggling team. This is where we need Roy to grow. His game compares with Kobe at every facet, but he hasn't yet discovered the "plural of majesty."

    No Brandon, you didn't lose that game. You're whole team lost it. And we need you to call them out on it - not in some bitchy whiny AI kind of way. We need you to say publicly, "We lost. We didn't play D. We won't win games like that. It's time to step up, and that starts right here." Then point at your chest and set the mark like you know you should.

    So I'm with you Casey. And I love that this weakness of Roy's shows the phenomenal strength of his personal maturity and charisma. Just imagine what that maturity and charisma will do when he's not only trying to motivate himself, but when he's motivating the entire team.

    God bless Brandon Roy. And may the cleanest cut team in the NBA show that nice guys only finish last three times in a row before they go on twenty game win streaks.

    by Revfisk on 12/2/2009 7:02 PM
  11. you know i find it intresting that fans need some one to blame. I remember last year every one was like get rid of oden he is just another sam bouy. Or how about its outlaws fault we lose games. Now dont let me get your wrong I wonderd about oden my self and have had upset times at outlaw. But what im saying is this why do we need to find it in our nature to find a scape goat. I think it time we stop Blaming and start supporting. Just a thought do you realy think that talking bad about our players is going to boost there inerself and make them play better. Well in some cases that may work but i look at oden's situation last year he would hear what we as fans though of him and it just made him play worse. They are out there to please us. We are the fans lets Back Brandon and all the other blazers and get rid of the trash talk. Cause lord knows we are in a far better place than we were 5 years ago.

    God bless the blazers this day
    Go Blazers.

    by Avgjoe28 on 12/2/2009 11:55 PM
  12. I whole-heartedly agree with your statement regarding Roy's importance to the team, and how they feed off of him.

    But I'll also say this--at some point the guys need to take the next step, which is to say, they need to realize when Brandon doesn't have it going, or isn't feeling confident, that they too can step up. They too can lead by example.

    I saw some of that Tuesday night from Oden--clapping his hands and getting fired up. Very encouraging sign. I think Bayless is a guy who can bring that fire too. And Martell too.

    When we can take that step we'll truly be a TEAM to be feared.

    by Heizer on 12/3/2009 12:15 PM
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