Brandon Roy must be one of the biggest 'what if's' in NBA history. He put the league on notice right out of the gate and had a feel for embarrassing even the best defenders in the world. Once he got going, there was nothing that could hold him back, or at least that's what we thought.
Injuries constantly got the best of him, up to the point where he was forced to retire early after just 5 seasons in the league. He later came back for a short stint with the Minnesota Timberwolves but it just wasn't the same.
Roy was a walking bucket in 2010. In fact, even Kobe Bryant once acknowledged that he was the most difficult player to guard in the Western Conference:
"He's the most difficult player to guard, 365 days a year, 7 days a week. Roy has no weakness in his game," Bryant told on a radio interview, as quoted by NBC Sports.
Bryant wasn't wrong. Roy was averaging 21.5 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 1.1 three-pointers per game, was already a three-time All-Star, and looked poised to lead the Blazers to Championship contention before his career took that major downfall.
His case was pretty similar to Derrick Rose's, with the difference that Rose could extend his career longer and even go back to showing glimpses of the superstar he once was.
He was just 28 years old when he retired in 2013. That means he could have played next to Damian Lillard during the first couple of years of his career, mentor him and even turn the Blazers into one of the biggest threats out of the Western Conference.
Sadly, we never got to see him at his best, and that's something all basketball fans will always be sad about. I mean, not every player can get this kind of praise from the Black Mamba himself.