On the offensive end the Blazer's are much easier to watch than in recent years. But it's hard to put up consistent offensive performances when they're constantly going against a set defense after taking the ball out of the net. This defense is atrocious and not getting better as the season progresses.
For instance last night, on a play in the second quarter, Sacramento came down in the open court on the right side where a Blazer defender picked up the ball (I think it was Wesley on Salmons). Jason Thompson ran the floor and Aldridge got back on D with him. Good effort on Aldridge's part to get back, except Thompson was on the side of the key opposite the ball, where Aldridge was inexplicably wrestling with him. I saw the play developing thinking what the hell is Aldridge doing? With his man in that position, he should have sagged in the middle and positioned his body so he could eye both his man and the ball. As it was, he wrestled with Thompson with his back to the ball. Salmons beat Wesley off the dribble, as most NBA players should be able to do when picked up in the open floor. Except after he beat Wesley he waltzed in for an uncontested lay up, with Aldridge on the opposite side of the key and back to the play.
There is no way that a Spur would play defense like that and get away with it. A time out would have been called and Popovich would have given a very clear message that wasn't okay and what should have been done. On this team though it's the norm. There is a reason teams shoot ridiculous percentages against us.
I love the fact that Aldridge plays hard and he's developed his offensive game to a point that he's nearly as good turning over his right shoulder as he is his left, but he needs to be a leader on D. I also get the sense no one is pointing out to him that he should be communicating a lot more on D, or that his rotations are inconsistent, or that his close out's on open shooters are often lazy or out of control. And if his communications on D aren't being heard than he should be getting in his teamates' ears. He still seems to play hard, but at the end of the day I'm left scratching my head and asking "Why isn't he dominating?" And if he's the best player on the floor like he was in the Sacramento game, why aren't the Blazer's controlling the game? Defense. He should be an all NBA defensive player, but he's undisciplined. Stott's doesn't seem to be doing anything to hold him accountable to a higher level of defense either. As a Blazer fan I hope I'm wrong about that.
How Aldridge goes on D, goes the rest of team. I also think with a higher level of mental engagement on the defensive end, some of those easy looks Aldridge was good enough to get last night but couldn't convert, would start to fall more. As a fan I'm not concerned with wins or losses as much as I just want to see better basketball. However I don't see anyone demanding it.