By Marc Stein
Faithful readers will have noticed that the Weekend Dime didn't appear on the NBA page Friday like usual. Fear not, friends. It'll be posted Saturday night.
Andy Ayres, Maurice Brooks, Justin Verrier and Matt Wong are the devoted NBA editors who have to deal with my drivel day after day. Those four deserve a holiday more than anyone else on ESPN.com's hoops team, so with Christmas falling on a Friday we pushed back the publication of the WD by about 24 hours to give them some family time.
We also tried to fill the void Christmas morning with our Chris Paul piece on TrueHoop and have another small WD preview for you now: Brandon Roy is this week's guest in the One on One section.
Here's an early peek at our chat with B-Roy:
Q: Is this the season from hell?
A: It’s tough, man. These are bittersweet wins because now we’re two centers down for the rest of the season. It’s frustrating [to lose Joel Przybilla to a season-ending knee injury after Greg Oden’s season-ending knee injury].
I’ve played basketball for a long time and I’ve never been part of such a season where everybody is so excited about it . . . we get Andre Miller, Greg’s healthy, great offseason and then it all goes, bam, down.
So my thing, as the leader of this team, is to just try to stay positive and just keep trying to let guys know there’s an opportunity for guys to step up and make a name for themselves. It’s a chance for me to try to lead.
It’s unbelievable, though. It’s unbelievable. I don’t know how you spin a positive out of it. When Joe went down, I was like, “I don’t believe this.” We were just looking at each other [on the court] like, “Can you believe this?”
Q: I’m guessing I don’t need to brush you up on the history of this franchise. And I know there’s really no such thing as a curse, but . . .
A: I don’t believe in curses and those things. I think this is just a little bit of adversity. I’m hoping at the end of my career I can look back and say that was a small portion [of it]. That’s just the mentality you’ve got to have. You’ve got to have that or we might as well stop playing and say we’re cursed.
Q: On top of all the injuries, there’s been a lot of trade speculation surrounding Andre and this team. Do you think that has affected you guys, too?
A: I really don’t think it has. I don’t know about Dre, but we haven’t talked about it at all [as a team]. . . . I think he’s here, he’s going to be here and right now we need him. I don’t think we’re going to do any trades, but that’s not my side of the job.
Q: If you guys don’t make a move, can you survive [in the West] with the bigs you have?
A: I don’t know. It’s hard to say. I don’t know what moves they can make. It’s one thing to [get by at center] for the next 10 games but we’ve got to hold it down for the next 50. But with [so many] guys out, I don’t even know if there’s moves available.
Q: In general would you say that the mood of the team is pretty good considering everything that’s happened?
A: It is pretty good, because even with the injuries we haven’t gone on a really bad losing streak or gotten blown out. We’ve been pretty competitive. We’re still playing well and I think that’s key. If you keep playing well and keep guys motivated, then guys don’t get down on themselves.
It’s scary in a way because guys are looking around like, “Who’s next?” It’s unfortunate, but, again, I’m just taking it as an opportunity where I’m just going to keep trying to show up, keep trying to lead and keep this team at a high level where people look back and say, “That wasn’t that bad of a year for us.”