Former NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion Nate Robinson believes that former NBA guard Brandon Roy would be talked about like LeBron James or Kobe Bryant if he had never gotten hurt.
Roy, who was a three-time All-Star with the Portland Trail Blazers, had his career cut short by knee injuries.
The No. 6 overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, Roy won the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award in the 2006-07 season, averaging 16.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game for Portland.
From there, his career took off. Over the next three seasons, Roy was named to two All-NBA teams and three straight All-Star teams, solidifying himself as one of the best guards in the NBA.
He averaged over 20 points per game in the 2008-09 season and 2009-10 campaign. However, his career was derailed in the 2010-11 season when he was limited to just 47 games (23 starts). He then missed the entire 2011-12 season after retiring because of his knee issues.
Roy did attempt a comeback in the 2012-13 season, but he lasted just five games with the Minnesota Timberwolves. In those games, Roy averaged 5.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 4.6 assists in 24.4 minutes per game.
It’s really tragic that such a talented player was never able to showcase his full ability, and Robinson clearly thinks he could have been one of the best players of all time.
While there is certainly a lot of projecting that goes into Robinson’s take, he’s entitled to his opinion – especially since he competed against all three players (Roy, James and Bryant) in his NBA career.
Still, there is a lot more that goes into what made James and Bryant great. Both players won several titles (James has four, while Bryant has five), and James has gone on to break the NBA’s all-time scoring record.
Both Bryant and James have taken home league MVPs in their careers, something Roy never got to accomplish.
It’s possible that Roy could have reached those heights, but to base that off of four strong seasons to begin his career is a little lofty. Robinson believes he could have reached those levels, but Roy would have needed to become one of the greatest players in NBA history in order to do so.
Unfortunately for NBA fans, they’ll never get to know what Roy’s true potential was. He could have been the running mate to Damian Lillard in Portland had he stayed healthy.
Instead, Robinson and others can only project what his career could have been.