Friday, January 11, 2008

The Perimeter Duncan

I've been in a lot of discussions lately that have taken place in an attempt to pin down exactly who Brandon Roy evokes on the basketball court. Some say Dwyane Wade, but not quite as quick or explosive. Others have thrown out Walt Frazier as a point of comparison. I've heard "Mitch Richmond but a better ball-handler and not as good of a shooter" (at that point, why even try to make the comparison?). One reader thinks Roy is a "next gen" version of Sean Elliott.

I don't feel like any of these comparisons are particularly apt. Which is why I think we have to venture outside the realm of perimeter players to find the proper point of reference. Because the guy that Roy reminds me of the most is Tim Duncan. Just a guard version.

Let's look at the similarities:

- Both are "cerebral" players that know how to play the game and maximize their own talents and those of others.

- Both are excellent defenders that dramatically improve the team defense through both their performance and the example they set for their teammates.

- They each have a unique ability to get wherever they want on the floor, regardless of what the defense tries to do and in spite of the fact that they aren't the fastest runners or highest jumpers.

- They have "old school" games that involve using proper angles, fundamental play, and taking advantage of the glass.

- Each strives for maximum efficiency with little regard for flair.

- Both players took over and transformed their teams pretty much the minute they walked into the locker room.

If you are wondering why this Blazers team is so much better than the sum of its individual parts, it is because Brandon Roy is excellent in all the ways that nobody notices ... at least not until there are championship banners hanging in the rafters.

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