<Sourced from the "Alternate Reality" wire>
Roy's Return to Form Leads Wolves
December 5, 2012
When the Minnesota Timberwolves signed three-time All-Star Brandon Roy during this past offseason, many were skeptical about what and whether the former Trailblazer could contribute. David Kahn, desperate for a competent-level shooting guard, figured it was a risk worth taking. Now one month and change into the new season, it is looking like a stroke of genius. With star point guard Ricky Rubio nearing his return from serious knee issues, there is much buzz in Timberwolves land about a pairing between Rubio and Roy and the best Timberwolves backcourt since Sprewell and Cassell's meteoric run of the mid-aughts.
Roy's success has been crucial because Kahn's other free agent shooting guard acquisition - Russian Olympian Alexey Shved - has been a disappointment. After making a small impact early in the season, he has not seen the floor since the wolves 5th game of the season v. Indiana. While demonstrating some passing ability, Shved struggled from the field and looked especially terrible on defense. Despite some excitement coming into camp, including an odd marketing campaign highlighting him as one of the leading Wolves, Shved's presence on the roster has become an afterthought on this suddenly deep squad.
A cursory look at the numbers shows that Roy has not quite reached the level of play he attained while he still had knee cartilage, but he is indeed a starting-worthy NBAer who only figures to get better as he adjusts to his new knees and starts getting more minutes (24.8 pg this season v 35.5 cartilaged).
TS% (.551) - right in line with his cartilaged days (.548 career).
points per-36 15.7 v 19.1 is comparable and again reflects his veteran leadership and knowing his role as a secondary offensive option on this team.
5.5 assists per-36 puts him on pace to tie his career best set during his 2nd season (07-08).
The numbers only tell part of the story. Even as a rookie, Roy always demonstrated instinct and feel for the game that belied his years. Adelman has repeatedly turned to his young veteran to finish out the fourth quarter of games, in large part because Roy's defense has also exceeded expectations, low as they were. While hardly a stopper, Roy uses a combination of surprising length and savvy anticipation towards being an effective defender. His performance on the deterrent end of the floor has allowed Adelman to shift his scheming focus to hiding Barea and Ridnour instead.
When considering the minutes Wesley Johnson (whose season high is 16 minutes, also his only game over 10 minutes with toiling on bottom-feeder Phoenix) consumed last year, it is clear the Wolves have greatly improved one of their biggest weaknesses from last year.
After yet another superb performance by Roy, leading the wolves with 17 points in their blowout win over the 76ers, there's no question that Rick Adleman and the wolves sure are happy that at least one of their two shooting guard gambles is paying off.