Erik Gundersen of Blazers.com takes a look at Portland Trail Blazers All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge's post defense and how he uses his quick hands to disrupt opposing attacks. Stats and videos from Synergy Sports are included.
Aldridge shouldered the bulk of the load offensively in December but has recently allowed his teammates to take on more of the scoring responsibility while still contributing in other ways. He struggled through a 5 of 15 night from the field in the Jan. 4 versus the Grizzlies in Memphis, but added five blocks and 12 rebounds in Memphis in the winning effort. But when Portland can't get it going and needs a bucket, it's Aldridge they turn to, as they did in the victory against Minnesota.
Despite Portland's team defense being a work in progress, Aldridge's individual defense continues to improve. He's averaging more defensive rebounds per game than in any time during his six-year career despite playing along side one of the league's best rebounders in JJ Hickson. According to the charting service Synergy Sports Technology, Aldridge gives us the second-fewest points per possession among players that have defended over 50 possessions. He's second only to Joakim Noah and ahead of lauded defensive players like Marc Gasol and Tyson Chandler. He's been more active with his hands, causing an increase in deflections before shots even go up. Aldridge says he's been disruptive but was often mistakenly called for fouls, though is reputation as a pest defending the ball is starting to catch on among officiating crews.
"I'm not fouling guys, I'm just having quick hands on the ball so I think last year when I first started it, they would call it a foul and it wouldn't be," said Aldridge. "Now they've seen me do it for two years now."
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