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Commentary: The Tears Of A Fallen Star

The most appropriate word to describe Brandon Roy’s all-too-sudden career free fall is tragic. The sadness of a perennial All-Star, possible future member of the Hall of Fame, player having all that he’s suffered for through the years be unconscionably ripped away with no reason or explanatory card in the mail to assuage the pain is more than discomforting. It’s dreadful. In these playoffs, the situation has stumbled to an even lower depth. After the Game 2 loss in Dallas, a frustrated Roy told reporters that as he looked on from the bench and watched guys who couldn’t hold a candle to his flame receive higher status on the rotation’s totem pole, the thought of crying crossed his mind. The inner pain of being looked over and knowing his coach had lost both the faith and trust he once had was too much to bear. Roy needed to vent, but was he right to do so?

This from The Oregonian’s John Canzano:

If McMillan gives Roy, say, 25 minutes in Game 3 and the guy dribbles the ball off his foot a dozen times, the coach can justify limiting his minutes. Case closed. Sorry star, I tried. However, if Roy gets loose, and looks comfortable, what we just might have here is a solution that works for everyone.

Blast Roy for being honest if it makes you feel better. Wish him gone. But know he’s devastated over his inability to feel comfortable dropping in and out of the game. It’s why he let it rip to two reporters who cared to ask what it feels like to be forgotten. The three-time All-Star said he felt disrespected and under-utilized, and Roy cried out for anyone willing to believe in him anymore. More than what he said, was the tone in which he said it.

He’s devastated by what’s happened. This was a crucial playoff game. The sort that he once carried on his own, and Roy looked out and saw reserves Patty Mills and Rudy Fernandez on the court while he rode the bench.

He said: “Patty? Rudy? Come on.”

Not tactful. Not polite. Not diplomatic. But it needed to be said. And the correct move right now isn’t to dismiss Roy’s outburst as a power ploy, but for the Blazers to grant the star guard one final wish — believe in him again.

Two seasons ago, at the burgeoning age of 24, Roy did about all one man can in an opening round six game loss to Houston. In almost 40 minutes a night, he averaged 26.7 points on 46% shooting from the field and 47% from deep. His usage percentage was 33.1%, slightly higher than Derrick Rose’s this season in Chicago. If you showed a fan of the NBA, who happened to fall asleep the night that series ended and be woken up this morning, Roy’s production so far in this series, they’re first assumption would be that he’s playing hurt. Possibly with a broken hand or severed leg. Then you’d show that fan the quote where Roy states his knees are fine, he’s physically healthy and ready to contribute. This is where things get confusing.

So far against Dallas, Roy has played just 34 minutes. He’s made a single shot and no free throws. His PER is -8.2. Once the team’s go-to scoring option, Roy is now resigned to a role that keeps other guys, like Wesley Matthews, fresh. The entire situation has been one slow moving snow ball down the side of a mountain, creating an avalanche of absurdity. To watch the dismantling of this man’s confidence come at a time when the media’s microscope is at its most intrusive power sucks, but what it does do, hopefully, is set Brandon Roy and Feel Good Story on a collision course. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see him turn this whole thing around, come to Portland with back to back 20 point games, and help the Blazers even things up? This is the NBA Playoffs, after all. Where tragedy can turn to triumph on the forgiveness of a rim. Or, of a coach.

Twitter: @ShakyAnkles

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