Blazers: To Live And Die With LA

Don’t get me wrong, I love Damian Lillard, and his development has been vital to the turn around being displayed in Portland this year. However — this team still lives and dies with LaMarcus Aldridge. Affectionately known as “LA”, Aldridge has played his entire career with the Blazers and has seen good times and bad; mostly the latter. Now is the time to turn that around and LA is leading the way once again.

Career Year

LA is on his way to having career highs in points, rebounds, assists, steals and even blocks. His production is hard to argue and now that his team is having success — 13-2 after Monday night’s win over the Knicks — LA is getting more attention in across the league. Check out Aldridge’s last four seasons:

Season Age Tm MP FG% FT% TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
2010-11 25 POR 39.6 .500 .791 8.8 2.1 1.0 1.2 1.9 2.7 21.8
2011-12 ★ 26 POR 36.3 .512 .814 8.0 2.4 0.9 0.8 2.0 2.8 21.7
2012-13 ★ 27 POR 37.7 .484 .810 9.1 2.6 0.8 1.2 1.9 2.5 21.1
2013-14 28 POR 37.4 .453 .761 9.6 2.5 1.4 1.0 2.4 1.9 22.3
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/25/2013.

 

He has been a model of consistency averaging 21.7 points, 8.9 rebounds, and one block per game. Should we expect higher rebounding numbers from a 6’11” power forward? Sure, but let’s not get too picky when we are looking at one of the top power forwards in the NBA right now. The one part of LA’s game that certainly leaves something to be desired is his field goal percentage. This season he is shooting a lowly 45.3 percent, which is far lower than his career average of 49.2 percent. Here is LA’s shot chart so far this season:

Shot Chart through the first 15 games. (NBA.com)

LA needs to spend more time in the paint to mid-post area to improve his overall efficiency on the offensive end. (NBA.com)

 

Rank Among Peers

As fans one of the best debates to have is the “Who is better than who” debate. All kinds of emotions start to stir up when we have a whole-hearted belief in someone’s abilities, and the person we are debating with doesn’t feel the same way. It’s the American way — argue your point to the death; even when you know you’re wrong! Power forwards in today’s NBA are much like the point guards; there is a wealth of talent and it’s tough when you get into who the best is at any given moment.

Let’s see where LA ranks from a pure stats standpoint versus other power forwards. Points 22.3 (2nd), rebounds 9.6 (7th), assists 2.5 (5th), blocks 1 (10th) and field goal percentage 45.3 (24th). Again we discussed that the field goal percentage needs to be worked on but who is 23rd in that same category? None other than the widely considered number one power forward in the NBA — Kevin Love! These stats are all nice to look at, but your eyes do more talking than stats and LA has definitely shown this season that he deserves to be in the discussion amongst the top two to three power forwards in the NBA right now.

Player of the Week

The NBA announced Monday that LaMarcus Aldridge won the Western Conference Player of the Week award for games played between November 18th and November 24th. During that span LA led the Blazers to a 4-0 record culminating with a huge win over new rivals the Golden State Warriors. Aldridge was stunning in this one going for a season high 30 points and a career high

Hall of Famer, Clyde Drexler, arguably the greatest player in Portland Trail Blazer history. The Hall of Famer was also a member of the 1992 Olympic Dream Team. (Photo: commons.wikimedia.org)

Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler, arguably the greatest player in Portland Trail Blazer history. The Hall of Famer was also a member of the 1992 Olympic Dream Team. (Photo: commons.wikimedia.org)

21 rebounds — he also tacked on three blocks and three steals. The last player to post at least 30 points, 20 rebounds, three steals and three blocks….David Robinson back on February 27, 1992!

LA is quickly entering the pantheon of all-time Blazer greats as he joined Clyde Drexler (11 times) and Brandon Roy (five times) as the only Blazers to win the Player of the Week award four or more times — this was LA’s fourth time. Aldridge has made the Western Conference All-Star team in back to back seasons and it appears he’s on his way to his very own personal three-peat. If the Blazers keep this winning up, then we might have to throw LA in the MVP talks as well — but that’s more wishful thinking (winks).

I want to know what you think! Twitter: @Chris_Reichert

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Tags: Best Power Forwards Blazers Kevin Love Lamarcus Aldridge Mvp Race NBA Portland Trail Blazers Rip City

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