Last night, LaMarcus Aldridge poured in a career-high 44 points as the Blazers came back in the second half to beat the Nuggets. It was another huge game for the power forward out of Texas, and it comes in his best NBA season yet. When asked after the game about his failure to be voted in as an All-Star starter, Aldridge wasn’t surprised at all, but he didn’t agree with the fans vote, either.
Here’s Aldridge dominating the Nuggets at the Moda Center last night with a series of finishes in the restricted area and his usual efficiency in the mid-range:
When Blazersedge caught up with the 28-year-old after the game to ask him about the All-Star selections, he didn’t feign outrage; he saw his exclusion coming:
“I’ve kind of gotten used to those things happening,” Aldridge told Blazersedge afterwards, when asked about missing out on a starting spot. “Everybody around me was more upset than me. I came in tonight and [Nicolas Batum] was pretty fired up about it. My mom was pretty heated about it. Me, I was like, ‘OK, this is happening again.’”
But Aldridge wasn’t done discussing his omission, saying, “I think I definitely should have been a starter. But it’s over with now, basically.”
That’s a pretty heady response for something people take very seriously. It’s also important to note the fan-voted distinction can affect future contracts as the 2011 CBA stipulates.
We’ve already made the case for Aldridge over Dwight Howard, but Tom Ziller at SB Nation makes a pretty good case for Kevin Love, despite the win/loss discrepancy between Love’s ‘Wolves and Aldridge’s Blazers. Blake Griffin has kept the Clippers afloat even in Chris Paul‘s absence from a separated shoulder, so its hard to point to one forward in the group Aldridge should replace. If it were our ballot alone to cast, we’d swap Aldridge for Love, but only if Love were guaranteed a spot as a reserve.
Aldridge has been so important for the Blazers this year. When Aldridge is off the court, the team scores almost 11 points less per 100 possessions (113.2 on; 102.4 off), per NBA.com. That’s the difference between leading the league in points per possession, and finishing behind the Memphis Grizzlies (102.5 per 100 possessions) who are ranked No. 18 in the league.
It’s not just offense where Aldridge’s presence has positively affected the Blazers, either. When he’s off the court, the Blazers are giving up 110.4 points per 100 possessions, which would be the worst defense in the league — by a landslide (the Jazz are at the bottom, giving up 107.6 points per 100 possessions). But when he’s on the court, the Blazers fall back to 104.1 points per 100 possessions. That’s not great, it’s in the bottom half of the league at around No. 17 (coincidentally similar to the Grizzlies overall), but it’s still a huge difference.
Charles Barkley declared after the starters were announced on TNT, “LaMarcus Aldridge should be an All-Star starter,” and we agree.
The All-Star Game has always been a cluster__k, with players getting slighted left and right because fans have a tendency to award career performance rather than what people are doing on the court in a specific season. The new frontcourt rules (no center was selected to start) augments these problems because of all the hybrid forward players. Aldridge loses out, as he has so many times in the past, but at least he’s smart enough to have seen it coming.
Should Aldridge start in the All-Star Game?
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