Over the years, I've become increasingly frustrated with the criticism of Lamarcus Aldridge's rebounding numbers. It's gotten to the point of simply being absurd. The most recent criticism has come from Charles Barkley while appearing on the Dan Patrick show:
"I think he (LaMarcus Aldridge) had a great season, but he hasn't played as well as Kevin Love and Blake Griffin. I mean, he's played great the last two weeks, but if you look at the overall picture, He's not playing better than Kevin Love. Kevin Love is leading the league in rebounding. You can fake offensive stats, but you can't fake rebounding.
There are a lot of guys who just gun it a lot and average a lot of points. You know, I never worry about those guys who score a lot of points, you can fake it on offense, but if you're getting fifteen rebounds a night, that's really, really impressive, and that's really hard work. LaMarcus Aldridge is having a very good season, but he's should not have made the All-Star Team."
Since becoming a full-time starter in his second year, Lamarcus has effectively averaged 19 ppg and 8 rpg while being the second and sometimes third option for his team. To give you some perspective on how good this has been, Tim Duncan has averaged 20 ppg and 11.5 rpg over his career. But what gets lost in the translation of all of these stats is who has been playing the post with Aldridge during these years. During his tenure with the Blazers and the NBA, players such as Zach Randolph, Joel Pryzbilla, Greg Oden, and Marcus Camby (and I may even be missing a few) have been playing the post with LA. When healthy, these players have been tremendous rebounders in this league. It's not surprising that Lamarcus' rebounding numbers have never been elite, simply look at who he has had to compete with on the boards from his own team. Is he really supposed to out-battle Joel, Greg (when he was healthy), and Camby for rebounds? Probably not, which is why he has always been instructed to leak out and run the floor to put pressure on the opposing team's defense.
And to counter Sir Charles' point about Kevin Love: who does Kevin Love play with that is a good rebounder? Someone...just name someone? And therein lies the rub. Kevin Love is the ONLY rebounder on his team. Granted, his is quite skilled at cleaning the glass, but he simply has no one on his own team that will challenge him for a rebound. And to further make my point, Michael Beasley is the second leading rebounder for the Timberwolves, coming in with a whopping 5.6 rpg! Seriously? 5.6 rpg? Nicolas Batum is getting 4.8 rebounds a game. And to further complicate matters for Charles, Marcus Camby has a better overall rebounding rate than Kevin Love. So in essence, Lamarcus has to compete with a "better" rebounder than Kevin Love every night from his own team. Shoot, even Joel Pryzbilla and his limited movement right now is still in the top 30 of overall rebounding rate in the NBA. When you stop to think about it, it's amazing the Aldridge has managed to rebound as well as he has thus far this season and in his career.
And I'll leave you with a final thought, if Kevin Love had to play with Marcus Camby on a nightly basis, would we even be talking about his rebounding numbers?