When the Portland Trail Blazers signed Wesley Matthews this summer to a five-year, $34 million deal, many basketball pundits made their scepticism about the deal well known.20-seven games into the season, no one’s laughing. That’s because Portland’s franchise player, Brandon Roy, has continued to struggle through injury woes and is once again on the shelf. Roy has already missed four games this year and is going to be shut down for the Blazers’ next two contests at the minimum.
Not long ago Roy was considered to be among the NBA’s best players, but constant knee pain has diminished his effectiveness. It’s to the point where people are discussing Roy in the same context as Yao Ming — former superstars that have seen their careers collapse because of injuries.
Roy is still just 26-years-old so it may be wise for the Blazers, 13-14, to simply shut him down for the season and let him rest until he’s fully healed, however long that takes. But there’s no guarantee that will work; Roy’s best days could be behind him.
Luckily for the Blazers, Matthews has done an awfully nice job impersonating Roy. He’s not on the same level of Roy in terms of pure talent, but Matthews has been an extremely efficient scorer this season and his .470 field goal percentage is as good as Roy’s has ever been. He’s also a much better three-point shooter than Roy and has become Portland’s go-to-guy.
The Blazers still owe Roy nearly $70 million over the next four years, so his injury issues could be crippling to the franchise. But they appear to have unearthed a relative bargain in Matthews who could ease the blow. They’ll need to be to creative financially to re-shape the roster, but all of a sudden Matthews looks like a steal.
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