Everyone wants to know what "the deal is" with LaMarcus. What is the issue we should be thinking about? Is he good enough? What is his ceiling? Is he a potential allstar? Should we be happy, or disappointed? Is he worth the money?
I'm just going to put this out there as an honest impression, of what I think the major issue happening with him is. If somebody convinces me I'm wrong, that is totally cool.
Honestly, I don't think he lacks anything in the way of potential. And his numbers and production are fine. I'm not saying his actual play is bad or lacking by NBA standards. He's not too soft to be good. He doesn't really neeeed to work much more out of the post. He is worth the money, as much as the next guy. None of these things are really critical issues, IMHO.
My only issue with LaMarcus, and it is unfortunately a big one, is the following:
I really don't think he works on his game, past the bare minimum. I really don't.
Here is an example. Last summer, whenever anybody asked him about what he was working on, he sort of went into "talk without saying anything" mode. It was already easy to read between the lines on his face, and kind of end up getting your BS flag triggered. Finally, when pressed, all he would say was he was lifting, and trying to develop the ability to put the ball on the floor to his left, typically along the baseline.
Now I played ball my whole life until I got hurt, and was never 1% of the athlete LaMarcus is. But I definitely remember having to work on my skills in the summer, especially going both directions and finishing with either hand. And it's really not that hard to do. I mean, in a couple months of going left, you can really get a lot, a lot better. And if you've had either a good grade school, high school or college coach, you would have been working on that at least a little bit already. This is an understatement. And then you would have plenty of time at regular practices to practice and polish what you learned in the summer. Right?
I mean Greg Oden lacked in intensive basketball skills training coming in, right? Moreso than LaMarcus lacked skillls, right? Yet he added several brand new tricks to his bag of tricks last summer. It was obvious to everyone.
So what does LaMarcus Aldridge do? He comes into the season no different at that one little skill than he was last year. It was his only stated goal, to work on that one move. This is like one fiftieth of Oden's work load last summer, and Greg Oden still accomplished literally every goal he set for himself.
And LA goes through a whole nother season, barely able to use his left for anything. I mean, every team wickedly overplays him, totally giving him left every time. They are daring him. All he has to do is either spin reverse, or fake right with a tiny crossover, and get a layup with the left, after two simple dribbles (In all fairness, I actually saw him try the spin left once in April, and I was shocked as I had not seen it all year.). Defenders beg him to take the dunk.
Now a hundred times a day, he practices those two moves, and in a month he is unguardable. All of a sudden people have to D him up straight.
But people are overplaying him radically to the right, and he still lowers head and tries to force his move right across the lane, right into the defensive guy's solar plexus. You know, the LaMarcus move. How many years has he been playing now, and how many moves does he have?
I mean, in a week of practicing a left handed hook you could make progress on that one too. But I can't think of a single skill he added this year. Yeah I know he did go through a period a couple years ago where he improved his post play a little bit.
But the only way any of what I saw from LA this year could be the case, is if LaMarcus didn't work on his game, virtually at all, last summer. A lot of you people played ball, and had to work on basic skills in the past. What do you think?
I am betting he didn't pick up a ball last summer. I am guessing he considers himself already allstar caliber, and thinks summers are for rest, with players of his stellar achievement level. He is doing what Nate minimally asks of him, and that is enough for you, Portland. Does anyone have any evidence to the contrary?