2 December 2020

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Does LaMarcus Aldridge Fit On The Portland Trail Blazers?

LaMarcus Aldridge, the 2nd overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, has started rumours on a potential return to his beloved Portland Trailblazers. A few days ago, Damian Lillard was answering questions on a Q&A on Twitter and was asked which player he would want back on the team the most, to which he responded “LaMarcus Aldridge.” Aldridge then responded with a “look” eyes emoji which signifies that there is something brewing between the player and the team. The team later deleted the tweet.

Aldridge was originally drafted by the Chicago Bulls but was traded immediately to the Portland Trail Blazers for whom he played for 9 seasons. In that period, he became the all-time team leader in rebounds, leading the way with 5,434 throughout his stint with the team. He developed his game to become a solid option at the power forward and center positions, averaging 19.4 points and 8.4 rebounds as a Blazer. 

via Getty Images

He signed a 4-year deal with the San Antonio Spurs in the 2015 off-season and has been with them since. He then signed an extension with the team which kicked at the start of the 2019-2020 season. The Spurs have been looking to trade him but have yet to find a suitable trade partner. They tried to package him with Kawhi Leonard in 2018 but did not find the right deal for both of them together. 

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Aldridge has since expressed his desire to return to Portland after a stint in San Antonio where he did not live up to full expectations. In their current situation, Portland would welcome Aldridge with open arms. But why is that exactly? Let’s delve deeper into how Aldridge can become crucial add to this strong Blazers’ squad who had an underwhelming season.

The Dive:

Aldridge is a 6-foot-11 power forward/center and weighs in at 260 pounds. The 34-year-old still has a lot of gas left in the tank and could be the key piece that Portland is missing right now. He has a smooth mid-range jump shot and can stretch the floor shooting at a 38.1% clip from outside the arc this past year. He can post up, get dirty in the paint, make defenders pay in the mid-range area and is a solid defender who can defend the power forward and center positions.

LaMarcus Aldridge's trade value is broken down by NBA executives
via USA TODAY Sports

Aldridge can turn into a big presence in the paint, causing problems for opposing defenses. He has a nice shooting touch, becoming a threat in the open floor, at the free-throw line and when he is posting up on the offensive end. He’s also super-efficient, taking the correct shots most of the time, sporting a career 49.1% field goal percentage in the entirety of his career. He could work to improve his work in shot-blocking and rebounding although he has the skill set necessary to accomplish that.

How He Fits On The Blazers:

Portland needs a big presence in the paint who can be a consistent offensive weapon they can deploy in all situations. With the injuries to Jusuf Nurkic (who was scheduled to return before the hiatus), Zach Collins and Rodney Hood, the team needed a big inside presence who could be efficient and effective while not compromising the team’s success. Hassan Whiteside has filled admirably but the only knack to his performance this season is his lack of offense and his play not leading to team success. 

That is where LaMarcus comes in. He provides the Blazers with a versatile forward presence who is solid on both ends who has played with many of the roster players before such as Damian Lillard. 7x All-Star and 5x All-NBA player brings his experience and his knowledge from playing under coach Gregg Popovich and can help implement some of those tactics with the Blazers game plan. The Trail Blazers sorely needed a consistent scoring threat when Damian Lillard was out for a few games early in the season and Aldridge provides that consistent scoring boost who plays with the flow of the team. The addition of Carmelo Anthony was great but he mainly plays in an isolation style of offense rarely thriving in a situation where every player on the team gets a touch on an offensive possession. 

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, front, greets a former teammate, San Antonio Spurs center LaMarcus Aldridge, before an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)
via Associated Press

Playing on the team he played for so long would also give him a morale boost and a surplus of motivation that would help him become the piece the Blazers need to them over the top even as he is continuously aging. Aldridge would be a solid addition to the team where he fills a positional need and helps the Portland Trail Blazers become a better team overall.

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