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Haberstroh: LaMarcus Aldridge Is Two-Way Franchise Player

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Tom Haberstroh of ESPN Insider includes Portland Trail Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge on a list of five franchise players who contribute both offensively and defensively. --------------------------------- Judging by his PER alone, Aldridge should have been an All-Star this season. But once we consider his defensive impact, he's entering top-10-player-in-the-league territory. When we talk about players who were most valuable to his team this season, we tend to leave Aldridge out of the discussion, and I'm not sure why. Looking at his plus-minus numbers, his impact on the Portland Trail Blazers was off the charts this season, as the team played about 15 points per 100 possessions better with Aldridge on the floor (fifth-best in the league). And it's not just because he can score anywhere inside the arc. The 25-year-old has been a pretty staunch defender despite splitting his minutes between his natural position at the 4 and the center spot. Synergy rates him as the fourth-best defender in the pick-and-roll among those with at least 200 plays defended, which is a huge improvement from where he was a season ago. He doubled his block rate this season, the Blazers are 5.5 points better per 100 possessions defensively with him on the court and he's entering his prime. --------------------------------- The rest of the list: Zach Randolph, Kevin Garnett, Andrew Bynum and Andre Iguodala. -- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter
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