We are seeing the LaMarcus Aldridge that we had always dreamed about. A highly skilled versatile inside/mid-range scorer with excellent decision making of when to score and when to pass to an open teammate. On top of that he's making toughness plays against some of the best big men in the league, like blocking Roy Hibbert or sending Serge Ibaka to the floor while ripping away an offensive rebound for a putback. All the while he embraces and supports his teammates without trying to monopolize all the glory for himself.
This has come after one of the worst injury-induced tailspins in recent memory for a franchise that has one of worst injury histories in the NBA. A tailspin that has put a large portion of the Blazers fanbase (myself included) and sportswriters on the edge of panic for years.
So where does Aldridge rank in NBA history for building a successful, maybe eventual Hall of Fame worthy, career in the face of roster chaos (losing Oden, Roy, and the musical chairs of Camby, Wallace, and Felton)?
A somewhat similar comparison could be Paul Pierce. He showed up after the Bird era, which was cut brutally short by the deaths of Len Bias and Reggie Lewis. The fanbase was critical while the team struggled to rebuild and had a few decent playoff runs with Pierce and Antione Walker. When all hope seemed lost and the Celtics were in the conference cellar, they were able to bring in Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, and Pierce became finals MVP after outdueling Kobe Bryant.
We still have a long season to get through before we can start predicting LaMarcus outdueling anyone in the playoffs, but I can't wait to watch every game and enjoy every Aldridge performance along the way.
Please weigh in with your comparisons, where does Aldridge's rise rank?
Long Live Blazermania!