Another Round Of All-Star Coverage For Blazers F LaMarcus Aldridge

On Thursday, NBA All-Star reserves will be announced by the league. With that comes a continued media onslaught for Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge.

The first round-up of Aldridge's All-Star coverage posted over the weekend is right here. Here's the second wave.

Aldridge gave a lengthy one-on-one interview with John Canzano of The Oregonian. Listen to the full interview on 750TheGame.com. Here are a few quotes.

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On the disintegration of Portland's Big 3 with Greg Oden and Brandon Roy

"I never really had a chance to play with Greg. I definitely called us the 'Twin Towers.' I wanted to be like a new version of David Robinson and Tim Duncan. He had that skill level, he had that dominance on the court where we could have dominated games together. I'm definitely sad that didn't happen. Brandon showed everybody who he was.

"I think about it but it's tough now. Those guys aren't really around. Brandon is gone, Greg usually isn't on the road. It's just tough to come in with guys, with Brandon and have Greg come in, these big goals, the picture is so pretty, and it never comes together."

On his low-profile in the media

"I'm an overly private person. I'm very to myself. I'm not really media driven. I don't check websites, I don't check the articles in the paper. I just started tweeting to try to help my All-Star push. I'm really a too myself, chill person. I think, to me, when guys get caught up in that, they start living like that, or they get driven by it. I don't want to be driven by media or by Twitter or by seeing my face in a magazine or online.

"This is all temporary. We are playing this sport that God's letting us play but it will be easy for me to go home after this."

On his relationship with coach Nate McMillan

"He has a challenge of trusting young guys. When I was new, it was hard for him to really trust me. He saw what Brandon could do so it was easier to trust him. But I really had to show him, 'You can trust me.' Now we have a pretty good relationship, where if I have a problem with something, I can go to him and vice versa. But in the beginning it was definitely hard to get through to him."

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Jason Quick of The Oregonian has a piece on Aldridge's close relationship with his mother and his development as a player.

"You can't get to him like in the past," McMillan said. "And all these guys who have defended him well throughout the years, now he has had pretty good games against them -- Chuck Hayes, (Kendrick) Perkins, (Samuel) Dalembert. That's maturity. That's confidence."
...
"I've been good at getting us to that spot where we can win, but I haven't been good at getting us over the hump," Aldridge said. "It's part of me being better down the stretch in making free throws and making my shot, and it's part my teammates making their shots, too." McMillan remains steadfast in his commitment to run late-game plays through Aldridge.

Ian Thomsen of SI.com agrees that Aldridge can still get better.

McMillan has often compared Aldridge to Tim Duncan, who is a superior defender and rebounder.

"But LaMarcus has more range," McMillan said. With that in mind, McMillan has been coaching Aldridge to face up in order to fend off double-teams. "When you face the basket, it's much harder for teams to trap you when you're looking at them and you can see the floor and the cuts and the spacing better," McMillan said. "What we want him to add to his post-up game is a face-up game like Tim Duncan, where he catches the ball and faces the defense right away before the double-team can come."

...

On Thursday he'll receive another vote of confidence from the Western coaches, who served to inspire Aldridge when they bypassed him a year ago. "Last year it was a motivation," he said. "Now I'm to the point that I'm just trying to be consistent for the team and trying to lead."

In other words, the coaches' vote will be an important validation. But a loss like this one Monday shows that he has more room to ascend. All-Stars are greedy that way.

Zach Lowe of SI.com says Aldridge is an All-Star...

Aldridge made our All-Star team last season and finished at No. 11 in our summer top 100, so it's no surprise he gets the nod again, during his best season to date. Aldridge is ninth overall in PER and is one of the league's true franchise centerpieces. One knock remains - defensive rebounding - but otherwise, he has made an across-the-board jump on both ends. He's shooting more often and more accurately, earning more free throws and dishing assists at a good level for a big man. Aldridge is thriving night to night even as Portland's supporting players are inconsistent, and he uses his length and smarts to work as a very solid defender.

Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus says Aldridge is an All-Star...

A year ago, both my All-Star roster and the real one came down to Aldridge vs. Love, with Love prevailing in both cases. By the end of the season it was obvious that, even at a loaded position, Aldridge deserved All-Star recognition. He's one of the league's top two-way threats and invaluable to the Blazers, as evidenced by another impressive net plus-minus rating, (ninth in the league, per BasketballValue.com. As for Love, he is far and away the best player who wasn't voted a starter.

John Hollinger of ESPN.com says Aldridge is an All-Star...

Somehow, the coaches have warped the mission of selecting the league's 12 players into something entirely different: selecting the best players from good teams. The result of the effective quota system based on records is that the coaches are taking fanciful leaps of indefensible logic in selecting the teams. None was more blatant than a year ago, when the coaches deemed that San Antonio having the league's best record made it irrelevant thatLaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Love were both obviously better than Tim Duncan.
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Aldridge has played so well that it's virtually impossible he'll be shafted this time. Among Western reserve candidates not currently on league-mandate suspensions for stomping an opponent, Aldridge is first in PER, and first in EWA by a wide margin.


You'll notice one trick here, however: I'm taking Aldridge as my center, a position he plays fairly regularly in Portland. The All-Star rules state clearly that the voters can move a player to a reasonable position if it benefits the roster; while I'm not eliminating the other West centers, I at least want to keep my options open while I weigh them against the litany of quality West power forwards.

DjGeeb notes in the FanShots that Aldridge got an endorsement from Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki this week.

-- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter

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