The NBA Season is officially underway, say goodbye to pre-season and hello the 2013-14 NBA Season. I don’t know about you but I am very excited about this season, there are plenty of teams to watch and plenty of players to watch. However, when it comes to the NBA, there are always players being overlooked, in this case, I feel one of those players is LaMarcus Aldridge of the Portland Trailblazers.
While I can understand why people forget about him, seeing that he is in Portland and he has suffered some injuries in the past that have kept him off the court. Nonetheless, I think it’s time for people to wake up and watch this young man.
Many haven’t noticed but Aldridge’s game has truly evolved over the last two seasons. He is a nearly a walking double-double averaging 21 points per game along with 9 rebounds per game. He represents what a power forward/center is in this new era of the NBA at 6’11 and 240 pounds. He has a very underrated post game, he has a nice mid-range jump shot and the ability to put the ball on the floor at times and take bigger defenders to the rim. In simpler terms, he is very hard to guard, if your small or weak, he will back you down and score. If your big and slow, he has the ability to take you off the dribble or pull you out of the post and known down his mid-range shot. He can be used in the half-court offense or the up-tempo offense. Not only can he score but he’s an efficient scorer, shooting 48% from the field last season.
Even better, he knows how to create contact and finish with contact and while in most situations you don’t mind fouling a big man, in this case you would mind, seeing that Aldridge shot 81% from the free throw line last year.
Defensively, he gets better every season, learning how defend the paint better, I don’t consider him to be a defensive stopper in any way at this point of his career, but he is a solid interior defender. As I mentioned earlier, he averaged 9 rebounds per game last season, if he can take his rebounding to another level this season and become that dominant rebounder, lookout.
The only thing, I can honestly hold against him is the fact that in the past he has been injury prone and due to those injuries, he struggled to stay consistent. However after playing 74 out of 82 games last season and understanding how important it is for him to stay healthy, I would like to think he will stay healthy this season.
He has already made bold statements that the Trailblazers will be the 7th seed in the Western Conference Playoffs this year. He also claims that he has expanded his shooting range to the three-point line. I honestly feel if he stays healthy, continues to play at a All-Star level and gets the Trailblazers into the playoffs, he could be considered the best power forward in the NBA. Now he obviously has great competition, you have the great Tim Duncan who is still going strong with the Spurs along with Dirk Nowitzki of the Mavericks. Then you can forget about Zach Randolph of the Memphis Grizzlies and more importantly Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
As I said, it won’t be easy to earn that title but it’s definitely not impossible at least not for LaMarcus Aldridge. If you don’t know about Aldridge by now, I suggest you look him up on YouTube but besides that I would say watch him and the Trailblazers this season and also keep an eye out for the rising star point guard of Damien Lillard. I might surprise some people with this statement, but I have the Trailblazers making the Western Conference Playoffs this year.
Written by LBeasley, Sports Contributor for Radio One Detroit
Listen to LBeasley’s Radio Show, “Sports Talk with L-Beasley” every Mon, Wed & Fri from 6-8pm (ET) on LBeasley.com