HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — This comeback is apparently no fluke.
Brandon Roy‘s clearly not aiming to be a redemption story and scuttle off to the bench after a few minutes here and there for the Minnesota Timberwolves this season. Roy is serious about not just resuming his NBA career but also returning to the All-Star ways that made him the face of a franchise in Portland.
Did you see him go to work in the Timerbwolves’ preseason opener? Sure, it took Roy a few minutes to find his flow. It’s been a while since he’s played in a live NBA game, preseason or otherwise.
But he came alive in the third quarter of a blowout win over the Indiana Pacers, his first work against an opposing team since a 2011 first-round playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks.
It was vintage Roy. Iin two blinks of an eye, he piled up the first six points of the game after halftime at the Fargodome in North Dakota, reminding keen observers that there is plenty of basketball left in those degenerative knees that caused him to retire practically after that series against Dallas.
He finished with 13 points, four rebounds, an assist, a steal and just one turnover in 24 solid minutes against competition that doesn’t wear the same color jerseys.
Jerry Zgoda of the Star-Tribune was there and explains how Roy’s night played out in person:
In all, he played nearly 24 minutes — exactly half the game coach Rick Adelman predicted his starters might play — while sitting out the entire fourth quarter.
“I think it takes time sometimes,” Roy said afterward. “I felt good. I was excited. This was my first game since Game 6 of the Dallas series over a year ago, and it was good just to get out there again.”
When he was on the floor, he scored both driving to the basket with either hand and by shooting, and scoring, outside off teammates’ screens.
“I thought he did good,” Adelman said. “He went and got to the basket a couple of times. He said he felt good. He’s just going to get better. It’s his first game back in a year. I like the way he worked himself in. He didn’t force anything. He played hard. He’s going to be solid.”
Roy attempted to draw a charge during Wednesday’s first half. He banged knees with an opponent, drew the foul on himself instead and went crashing to the floor in the process.
He got up wincing but played on.
“It’s not anything new,” Roy said. “I’ve been taking some bumps in practice. Those are normal. I went knee to knee. I was like, ‘Hey, this is just part of the game.’ It’s just good to take those hits now so I know I can turn around and respond.”
If Roy’s responds the same way all season, Timberwolves All-Star Kevin Love might get his wish and finally see the postseason in his professional career.
With Roy, Ricky Rubio and Love paving the way, Adelman’s team has a very real chance of shedding their lottery label and moving up into that mix for one of those final four playoff spots in a Western Conference that is never short on postseason challengers.
But it takes more than just an All-Star like Love, a promising young star-to-be like Rubio and a bunch of role players. You need someone else with intimate knowledge of taking and making big shots, with an understanding for what it takes to get there (to the postseason) and the skills to help make that happen.
Roy could be that someone for the Timberwolves this season.