LaMarcus Aldridge is a top 20 player in the league according to ESPN

I don't know how many of you have been following NBA rank at ESPN. Today ranks 25 through 21 were revealed. I thought this might be where LMA would appear as he was 23 last year. He did not appear in this range meaning that he is considered by the panel that voted on this as one of the 20 best players in the league.

Based on the process of elimination here are the 20 best (I think - I'm not obsessive enough to fully check this):

Andrew Bynum

Blake Griffin

Carmelo Anthony

Chris Bosh

Chris Paul

Deron Williams

Derrick Rose

Dirk Nowitzki

Dwayne Wade

Dwight Howard

Kevin Durant

Kevin Love

Kobe Bryant

Lamarcus Aldridge

Lebron James

Pau Gasol

Rajon Rondo

Russell Westbrook

Steve Nash

Tony Parker

As I went through the list, I was struck by how accurate I really felt it was. There is not really a single player on that list that I would without question swap with ranks 21 through 25.

21. Kevin Garnett

22. Kyrie Irving

23. Tyson Chandler

24. Marc Gasol

25. Manu Ginobili

This got me to thinking about some of the recent chatter I've seen around LMA and should the Blazers trade him. Given that the average age of the players on this list is 28 I would argue that this is not something the Blazers should be considering. I have two reasons for this:

1. Aldridge is in his prime right now. His value 2 years from now is unlikely to change dramatically from where it is now.

2. There are a lot of young stars in the NBA. This means it's not unreasonable to hope that drafting in two straight lotteries couldn't land the Blazers a 2nd top 25/top 30 player. If the Blazers are able to do this they are likely to be competitive very soon. Sure you could also point out that nearly all of the players in this list were taken in the first 3 picks in the draft but the most significant thing to me is that the Blazers chances of drafting and getting a player as good as LMA are also very low. Really I think they are better off sticking with a known blue-chip player, and rolling the dice on a lottery pick to pan out or a salary dump unbalanced trade to net them a game changer.

Anyway, just some Friday evening musings and the season can't start soon enough.

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