Thursday, April 18, 2013

Grading the Trail Blazers: LaMarcus Aldridge

With the 2012-2013 season now in the books, it's now time to review how each of the Trail Blazers did this year. The first in this series will be the team's All Star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge:

Statistical Review
Aldridge had another solid season, averaging 21.1 points, as well as career-highs in both rebounding (9.1) and assists (2.6). While his field goal percentage dipped nearly three points from last year, a part of that can be attributed to the high level of attention opposing teams paid to him as the only true low-post scoring threat on Portland's roster.

Statistically speaking, Aldridge's best game came in the season finale against the Warriors, where he posted 30 points, 21 rebounds and 3 blocks in just over 32 minutes. Aldridge could have put up even bigger numbers, but head coach Terry Stotts never brought him off the bench when it was just a seven-point game midway through the fourth quarter.

A disappointing 6-point, 3 rebound performance on just 2-11 shooting in the team's 36-point road loss to the New Orleans Hornets on February 13th. While Anthony Davis and Robin Lopez are decent defensively, Aldridge couldn't get it going. Perhaps even more disappointing that his stat line was the way he wasn't able to get his teammates to compete, as the final spread indicates a team that gave up early in the contest.

Area(s) to Improve
Heading into next season, I'd like to see Aldridge become more of a vocal leader. Despite being one of the best power forwards in the game, Aldridge doesn't demand the ball nearly enough, and has the demeanor of a #2 option. While rookie point guard Damian Lillard may eventually assume the mantle of Portland's primary scoring option, the young Trail Blazers need Aldridge to ruffle some people's feathers every now and again.

Season Grade: B+

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