Portland Trail Blazers All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge joined Isaac Ropp and Big Suke on 1080 AM The Fan on Thursday to discuss the upcoming 2012-13 NBA season. Here's a link to the audio of the interview.
Here's a full transcript.
Wow, it's your seventh season
"Time has flown by pretty quick, huh?"
Areas of improvement for you this summer?
"Probably going off the dribble more. Being able to go from that elbow isolation area to get to the basket. I think going left more, last night I had a really good drive to the left. My left hand floater didn't go in but I'm getting more comfortable with it."
With Damian Lillard, expecting lots of pick-and-rolls?
"He's a really talented player, he's good at passing the ball. He can score it also. Him and myself, we should be a pretty dynamic duo in the pick-and-roll."
"Keep getting better. I'm definitely not satisfied. My goal wasn't to be a one-time All-Star. I want to be a five or 10 time All-Star. I think working on my leadership skills, we have a really young team, I can focus on leading the guys. One thing I want to become better at is finishing games, being that closer that can make big shots."
Being more of a leader this year?
"Just being more vocal in practice. Every time there's an opportunity to talk to a young guy, speak about things I know, or they should know. I'm always taking advantage of that. Coach [Terry Stotts] has done a really good job of giving me opportunities to talk and he's tried to put me in positions where I need to talk."
Have to prepare yourself mentally for a rebuild season?
"I think you do. I've been on teams that have won a lot of games. When I first was drafted by Portland we didn't win games, that was a process to grow up and get better. We're kind of in that mode now but we have a few more vets. It's not about wins or losses, it's about getting better every night. Me becoming better as a leader and our young guys taking advantage of every game to get better out there."
How patient are you? Have you thought about that with so many young guys?
"I have. I have really good talks with the management, with [GM] Neil [Olshey]. We don't feel like this process is going to be that long. We feel like one year for guys to get better, for myself to also get better. We feel like we should have enough next year to be one of those top teams again. We can always add some good guys through free agency next year."
Are you best power forward in the game?
"If I didn't say I was, then it would be weird."
Is there a difference between saying that and truly believing it?
"I'm a realist. I do feel like I'm the best power forward in the game. But I do also know that I have to be an overall better rebounder. I think that's going to come this year. I still do feel like I'm the best power forward in the game."
Things rookies need to be ready for?
"Oh man, where do I start? Back-to-backs. Being on the road for 10 days and playing seven games. Just physically, mentally being exhausted, but still having to do it every night. If it's Meyers [Leonard] going up Dwight Howard, [Andrew] Bynum, [Brook] Lopez, going up against these guys every night. I don't think they realize it's not college, one good guy in your conference. The NBA has talent every night, every night is a new animal basically."
FanFest on Sunday. Do you get excited for event?
"I do. I do. It's great for us to interact with the fans. We have a live practice, it keeps our fans engaged with us. It gives people who don't have the opportunity to be courtside to sit courtside."
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