April 11, 2014

LaMarcus Aldridge: Owning the Paint in Portland

"He possesses all the physical characteristics NBA GM's dream about in a big man. ... He is a quick and fluid player who moves like a ballerina and runs the floor like a guard. He is extremely coordinated for his size, and possesses a vertical leap that allows him to spring high off the floor in the blink of an eye. In today’s modern NBA that is so much more reliant on quickness and athleticism rather than brute strength, he has the ability to play either the 4 or the 5 spot for his team depending on where he is drafted."  While reading this snippet of an NBA scouting report on a college sophomore, one would assume this is a high caliber, dominating big man.  Well, this promising young big man coming out of the University of Texas is actually getting even better with every season that passes.  LaMarcus Aldridge, coming out of Texas, was heralded as a high potential player that would most likely be an all-star one day.  His positives in his scouting reports talked about his quickness, endurance, length, offensive fluidity, and offensive arsenal.  The negatives were about the lack of strength and aggressiveness that he possessed in college.  Now, Aldridge is one of the best big men in the league and he's holding down the paint in Portland.
Coming into the league, LaMarcus Aldridge had an average rookie year.  He only averaged 22.1 minutes per game, but he still made the most of his opportunities.  The 2006-'07 team that he played with in his first year, was a promising team led by the likes of Zach Randolph, Brandon Roy, and Jarrett Jack.  Aldridge had to prove himself so that he could takeover the starting center spot from Joel Przybilla.  The young big man went on to average 9.0 points per game and 5.0 rebounds per game while shooting .503 from the field and .722 from the charity stripe.  As a rookie, these numbers weren't too shabby, but there was also room for a lot of improvement.  He was showing a lot of promise throughout the season, but just wasn't getting much playing time since he was behind a veteran.  Little did Portland and NBA fans know however, he would prove that he deserves to be an every day starter and even an all-star.
His sophomore year he got his chance to start, and he did not disappoint.  In fact, his sophomore year and the next two years afterwards he was showing everyone that he could hang with talent in the NBA.  Throughout those three years Aldridge went on to average 17.9 ppg and 7.7 rpg.  He was growing and growing through the starting role, and he was becoming a bigger piece of the their team because important guys were going down with injuries.  Then came the 2010-'11 season, it was for sure a statement year.  Aldridge averaged 39.6 minutes per game this season, his most of any year, and he played every game but one.  He was no longer an inexperienced young gun, and he played like a wily veteran in the post.  He posted averages of 21.8 and 8.8, and also had a player efficiency rating of 21.5 (his second highest of his career).  Finally, in 2011 Aldridge received the credit he deserved and got his first all-star game selection.  Now, fast forward to the current season.  Aldridge is having a career year and he's helping lead this Portland team to the playoffs with the exciting Damian Lillard.  His field goal percentage is on par with the rest of his career, he's shooting his best percentage from the free throw line, and has a stat line of 23.3 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 21.9 per.  He's a force to be reckoned with and he will dominate your favorite big man.  So try to stay in your seats ladies and gentlemen, LaMarcus Aldridge is here to stay and he's gunning for a ring.

- Alex Fischbein (@Sixers_RunWitUs)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Share your thoughts: