It’s been 18 months since Brandon Roy played in an NBA game, later retiring because of a degenerative condition in his knees, but now that he’s back, the 3 time NBA All-Star claims he’s back at that level of play, having no such problems or fears regarding his past injuries that should hold him back from returning to be one of the best guards in the NBA.

It might be easy to forget, but Brandon Roy, in the period of 2008 to 2010, before his final season with the Portland Trail Blazers, was one of the best shooting guards in the league. He averaged 22.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 5.1 assists during his last injury free season, 2008-2009. A year later he missed 17 games but put up very similar numbers, while 2010-2011 was the big collapse, missing more than half the season and retiring before the beginning of 2012.

The Timberwolves were on their way to the postseason, or very close to that, before Ricky Rubio went down and tore his ACL, missing the final 25 games of the season, while Kevin Love couldn’t keep the sinking ship from crashing out of playoff contention. Rubio won’t be ready for the opening game, but the Timberwolves have high expectations, with Roy being a big part of that vision. A shooting guard by definition, Roy took a big part of being Portland’s actual ball handler when he was playing, capable of playing point guard, at least offensively.

This season, especially because Kevin Love is getting restless about finally making the postseason after a summer with the Dream Team, realizing he’s the only one who hasn’t played in the playoffs among those who traveled to London, there’s a lot of pressure on this easy to overlook team to succeed. Barea and Ridnour are the other point guards on the roster, but a good and promising start from Roy might mean he’ll get more ‘floor general’ assignment while Rubio is slowly coming back.

I’ve had no setbacks, I’m not holding back. There’s nothing stopping me from getting back to my old game. It just takes work and getting my rhythm back.

No one’s actually expecting of Roy to preform like he did two-three years ago. Not because of his age, but it seems weird that the problem that forced him out of basketball less than 12 months ago is suddenly gone and not there to prevent him from bringing out his best. If the Wolves actually get the Brandon Roy of his first four seasons in the NBA, then it’s not just a question about making the playoffs for the first time since 2004, but a matter of having a franchise that’s very close to be a contender in the West.