One of the least talked about basketball hotbeds is Dallas. While Texas is widely known to be a football state, their hoops scene has emerged in the past decade. Through producing cats like arguably the best point guard in the game in Deron Williams or the second-most athletic center in the league in DeAndre Jordan, the state of Texas as a whole is a force. Still, can the best power forward right now reside from The Big D, too? And no, I’m not talking about everyone’s hyped-up, infatuated debate between Kevin Love and Blake Griffin (neither of whom is from Texas). The Texas two-step of LaMarcus Aldridge and Chris Bosh are legitimately deserving studs that belong in that conversation. Yet, it is the former cat that’s lately been killin’ the most.
“Like I always say, he doesn’t always get the attention that he deserves because we’re all the way up in the Pacific Northwest,” said veteran rebounding beast Marcus Camby after Aldridge went off — a season-high 33 points, a career-high 23 boards, five dimes, and two steals – recently on Bosh’s former Toronto Raptors squad. “But his game speaks volumes and tonight just solidified that he is the best power forward in the game.”
These remarks ring even more true when the game’s best small forward, LeBron James, raised the discussion level of Aldridge’s status before his Miami Heat were defeated by the Portland Trail Blazers last season:
“He is the biggest snub in All-Star history.”
Looking back at their recent matchups from last year, the stats clearly support such glowing comments. According to NBA.com’s StatsCube, Aldridge averaged 23.8 points, 18.2 field goal attempts, shot 54 percent from the field, 7.9 boards, and 3.7 dimes when Bosh was on the floor guarding him. The points, field goal attempts and dimes were all a 10 percent uptick from his season averages. By contrast, Bosh only managed to average 9.4 points, 12.2 field goal attempts, shoot 39 percent from the field, 4.2 boards, and zero dimes when Aldridge was on him. Furthermore, Aldridge murdered Bosh in their two meetings both in the paint and in the mid-range game by shooting 63 percent (5-8) to his goose egg (0-6) and 50 percent (8-16) to his 44 percent (7-16), respectively.
This small sample from their head-to-head matchups also reflects their distinctive differences. Aldridge’s skill-set is significantly more multi-faceted than Bosh’s. While they are both known to be serious threats as face-up fours, Aldridge has made major strides on his back-to-the-basket-game. Every night he faces double and sometimes even triple teams because of how often and how well he operates on the block. Bosh, on the other hand, is content to shoot open mid-range jumpers from the elbows and baselines off of dribble-penetration from King James and Flash. Without another superstar next to him, Aldridge takes more contested shots and tries to get buckets on his own while being the focal point of defenses on a nightly basis. Meanwhile, Bosh has the luxury of virtually being an after-thought when teams scheme against the Heat. All he has to do is be ready to shoot, be in position to drive to the rim off a late contest, or be around the hoop to receive a hand-off dish for a layup.
Thus far this season, Aldridge is averaging nine-plus shot attempts from within 10 feet as well as getting to the line nearly six times a night, both increases from his 2010 campaign, via HoopData.com. Bosh’s respective stats pale in comparison to these – averaging two fewer shots from 10-feet-and-in and three less trips to the charity stripe since 2010. These are the tangible stats that justify why Aldridge’s game is the closest thing today to an in-his-prime Big Fundamental, while Bosh gets stuck with the soft-labeled Pau Gasol comparison. Placing Aldridge’s name in the same sentence as Duncan and not have it sound blasphemous makes me wonder if he had a healthy Brandon Roy and Greg Oden all these years would Sir Charles proclaim him to overtake the aforementioned “greatest power forward of all-time?”
Most noteworthy, though, about what separates and elevates Aldridge from Bosh is his quiet but confident swagger. C’mon son, even his acronym of a nickname in L.A. is rather appropriate. His game is smooth and laid-back cool like the City of Angels, while Bosh merely plays in a city that’s fun and sunny. They both have accepted their present realities in opposite fashion. L.A. has grown to embrace the go-to-guy role up in Rip City and Bosh is comfortable not being the primary factor in South Beach.
On “Rome is Burning” with Jim Rome, Aldridge elaborated on serving as the Blazers’ Batman and No. 1 option:
“My teammates look to me to lead them, to guide them when things aren’t going right. You’re the person that has to figure it out how to fix it. I think that’s part that I’m growing in; learning how to be good in those bad moments. I think that’s what a Batman has to do. He has to be big in those moments, he has to lead, and he has to get on guys that aren’t doing the right thing. We base so much off of my post-play, off of my pick-and-roll that if I’m not brining my A game that it’ll be hard for us to win.”
As for Bosh, he informed The Miami Herald’s Israel Gutierrez that he doesn’t understand his role with the Heat, calling himself “the random guy.” He even admitted it’s hard for him to be aggressive all the time:
“I can make three (shots) in a row, then if I miss two in a row I feel like I’m blowing it.”
Yes, Chris Bosh certainly receives a lot of ill-advised flak and hate for being the Ringo Starr of the Heatles. But it’s time for cats to smell the Rose Garden’s real superstar in LaMarcus Aldridge — the best power forward produced out of The Big D.
Who would you take and why?
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