When Brandon Roy and the Minnesota Timberwolves reached a verbal agreement back in early July that the all-star guard would return to the game after spending last season in retirement mode, many pundits around the league wondered what Roy would look like once he got back on the court.
After five seasons in the league and the chronic knee problems, there still are a lot of questions surrounding Roy’s comeback.
He took the first step this week in answering some of those concerns as Roy begins working out at Minnesota’s practice facility.
“Being at home for a whole year and watching NBA basketball was hard for me and then going through the process of coming back and signing with Minnesota made me feel like I was back and part of the league,” Roy said in an interview with NBA.com, who was on hand to film the session.
“Of course you miss playing, but I miss being around the team. That’s something I was a part of since I was a kid – if I was playing soccer, football or basketball – just being part of a team and having that locker room conversation or even riding on the bus, going into a visiting arena and only having the 12 guys that you came with, that is probably the biggest thing I missed about basketball.”
Roy is working out alongside Malcolm Lee doing drill work as the rest of the team starts to get into town and prepare for training camp, which opens on October 2nd.
Up to then, the former Portland Trail Blazers guard who was courted by Chicago, Indiana, Cleveland, Dallas and Golden State this offseason before choosing Minnesota, is working on his conditioning, getting his timing back and simply making up for lost time.
Roy’s last game in the NBA: April 28, 2011 against the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the 2010-11 NBA Playoffs.
Roy finished with 9 points and 3 rebounds in 29 minutes in the 103-96 Game 6 loss.
Now it's about slowly bringing Roy back into the mix in Minny.
“When you have a year off, it’s just not basketball it is the whole thing – the conditioning and lifting part of it – but this week we are just trying to get him comfortable with what we do,” said David Adelman, player development coach with Minnesota.
“We are just trying to get him comfortable with some of the stuff that we run and are going to put him through during the year, but this early and it being a month before training camp, we are just trying to get him back in the groove slowly.
“From what I’ve seen ball handling and shooting wise, it’s what you kind of expect which is very high level. He’s one of the better shooters I’ve ever seen. I mean, we are talking about drill work, but we are talking about a guy who can shoot it every possible way – off of the dribble, on the block, shooting threes or on the move or whatever.”
That sounds like the same old Brandon Roy in a lot of ways—a guy who can do it all on both ends of the floor. But is he the same guy who can put a team on his back and carry them to victory or is part of the reality of his comeback being able to cope with a lesser role on a team gunning for the postseason?
This entire upcoming season in Minnesota will be a learning experience for Roy.
What is he learning right now?
Getting back in game-shape and ready for the rigors of an 82-game season is going to take time.
“The biggest thing for me is to keep working on my shooting and trying to build my conditioning. There is nothing like playing basketball. I can go out on the track and run as much as I like, but getting back in here and working on defense and getting into position, and then just shooting off of the move…”
“I just need confidence and repetition.”