Player-by-Player: Lamarcus Aldridge

Minutes--  Last Year: 22.1 This Year:  34.9  Change:  +12.8

Points-- Last Year:  9.0  This Year:  17.8 Change:  +8.8

Field Goals Attempted--  Last Year: 7.6  This Year:  15.3  Change:  +7.7

Field Goal Percentage--  Last Year:  50.3%  This Year:  48.3% Change:  -2.0%

Three-Pointers Attempted--  Last Year: 0.0  This Year: 0.1  Change:  +0.1

Three-Point Percentage--  Last Year: 0% This Year: 14.3%  Change:  +14.3%

Free Throws Attempted--  Last Year:  1.8 This Year:  3.9 Change:  +2.1

Free Throw Percentage-- Last Year: 72.2%  This Year: 76.2%  Change:  +4.0%

Effective Field Goal Percentage-- Last Year:  50.3%  This Year:  48.4%  Change:  -1.9%

Offensive Rebounds-- Last Year: 2.3  This Year:  2.9  Change:  +0.6

Defensive Rebounds-- Last Year:  2.7  This Year:  4.7  Change:  +2.0

Overall Rebounds-- Last Year: 5.0  This Year: 7.6  Change:  +2.6

Assists-- Last Year:  0.4  This Year:  1.6  Change:  +1.2

Steals--  Last Year: 0.3  This Year:  0.7  Change:  +0.4

Blocks-- Last Year:  1.2  This Year:  1.2  Change:  0.0

Turnovers-- Last Year:  0.7  This Year:  1.7  Change:  +1.0

 

Salary Status:  One year at $4.6 million, then a team option at $5.8 million, then a possible qualifying offer.

When we moved Zach Randolph to New York last draft day the guy with the most pressure to step directly into his shoes was Lamarcus Aldridge.  With less than one full season of experience under his belt success was no guarantee.  Even with the obligatory bulking up in the off-season he was still lithe for a power forward.  He had battled foul trouble and physical ailments the year prior.  He carried obvious promise but promise often withers in the harsh glare of the NBA regular season.  Lamarcus didn’t wither, he bloomed.

When measuring the stats above we have to take into account the 58% increase in playing time.  Obviously producing at the same level or only increasing incrementally would be considered poor.  Instead Lamarcus doubled his shots and his points, rising into the new role with nary a hitch.  His field goal percentage slipped slightly, but that’s not surprising given the new burden on his shoulders.  His free throw percentage rose.  His defensive rating remained level.  He was not cheating off the defensive side of the ball to conserve energy.  He stayed out of foul trouble…an impressive feat considering his age and the minutes involved.   His offensive rebounding numbers rank him among the better forwards in the league.  For a second-year guy under fire the near-seamless growth was remarkable.

Even with that, there are things to improve on for year three.  His production game-to-game was decent, but quarter-to-quarter Lamarcus went up and down like a yo-yo.  He appeared to tire or recede as games progressed.  Seldom did he assault the post for four quarters straight even when he had a clear advantage.  He needs to learn to pass a little better from the post.  He also needs to continue working on a bankable post move.  His face-up jumper was nearly always good but you could flip a coin on any of the 3-4 back-to-the-basket moves he employed.  With the offensive arsenal he has Lamarcus should be drawing more than 4 foul attempts per game. The other clear area that needs work is defensive rebounding.  He ranked 45th in the league in that stat this year, 59th in overall rebounds per minute.  Part of it was how he was used on defense, but part of it was a lack of aggression and determination.  If you’re going to play any kind of efficient possession game ball control is the key.  Oden or no Oden we can’t have every team fielding two better rebounders than our power forward.

If you want to map out a growth curve for a young player Lamarcus is at least at, and in some ways far above, the sweet spot in the progression.  What’s really scary is that this is probably about 65-70% of the Lamarcus you’ll eventually see and he’s darn good right now.  Considering how well he’s likely to fit with Greg Oden…wow. 

Verdict:

Lamarcus_medium 

                  We’re salivating over you, Baby!

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)

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