LaMarcus Aldridge is officially an MVP candidate. Though, he could still be better because he still plays too much Center IMO. Let me explain. LA takes up 53% of our time at the PF spot & 24% of the teams minutes at center. Compared to last year he played 61% of the teams minutes at PF & 8% of the center minutes. Lets compare that to title year Dirk, or any for that matter, but stick with that since Stotts was a part of that run. 62% of minutes of the Mavericks total PF minutes & only 1% of their center rotation. Checking a few years before that, he didn't play more than 7% of the teams center minutes. As we know LaMarcus has never really liked playing center, especially defensively. To put it simply, he is better offensively & defensively when playing Power Forward. I'll analyze & use stats from this season via 82games.com.
LaMarcus's advantage in his game when he is playing Power Forward:
- LA takes more shots, more efficiently at PF compared to center.(FGA 26.3 on eFG% .450 at PF vs 25.7 & .436 at C)
- LA defends power forwards better than centers. His opposition attempts more shots against him at PF, but they score at a worse rate. At the 5 opponents shoot less but are much more efficient. (Opponent FGA 15.2 & eFG% of .475 at PF vs 12.6 & .511 at C)
- LA gets many more play making opportunities at the 4(Assists 4.1 at PF vs 1.4 at C)
- LA gets more fouls personal fouls at the 5(Fouls 2 at PF vs 3.3 at C)
- LA is infinitely better at defending PF's than he is defending C's(Opponent InsideFG% 36 at PF vs 54% at C)
- LA playing center results in the opposing player getting to the line significantly more than when he is at PF(Opponent FTA 2 at PF vs 4.7 at C)
- LA gets blocked less when playing PF(Opponent Blocks .4 at PF vs 1.6 at C)
LaMarcus's advantage in his game when he is playing Center:
- LA is a slightly better rebounder against centers(Rebounds 13.4 at C vs 12.5 at PF)
- LA scores inside at a higher rate when he plays C (InsideFG 28% at C vs 20% at PF)
- LA gets to the line three times as often at C(FTA 12.3 at C vs 3.7 at PF)
- LA scores about five more PPG Per 48 at the 5, but not as efficiently as when he plays the 4 (31.5pts at C vs 26.8 at PF)
- LA turns the ball over less when he is at the center spot, which impressive with how much more aggressive he is(T/O 2.5 at C vs 3.4 at PF)
- LA gives up more assists at PF than when he plays C(Opponent Assists 1.1 at C vs 2.7 at PF)
- LA's opponent turns the ball over twice as when he is at the 5(Opponent Turnovers 3.8 at C vs 1.9 at PF)
- LA, as his FTA increase would indicate he gets fouled more when he plays center. (Opponent Fouls 7.7 at C vs 4.2 at PF)
LaMarcus does some things near equally well at both positions.
- LA gets exactly the same amount of blocks at PF & C(1.4)
- LA's opponents basically score the same whether he is at the 4 or 5(Opponent Points 16.7 at C vs 16 at PF)
- LA's opponents rebounding is also a scratch regardless of position(Opponent Rebounds 9.7 at PF vs 10.1 at C
Not really interested in the net numbers, which say LaMarcus is better at center, but to possibly come to a conclusion that will lead to an even better LaMarcus Aldridge. The biggest arguments I have for LaMarcus to stop playing center is simple. He is better on both ends when he plays his natural position, particularly in efficiency, defense & play making which leads to efficient shots for the team & a better overall team offensive performance. While turnovers increase, he deserves to be able to make mistakes like all other superstars. While right now LA seems happy playing the 5 in spurts because he finally respects all his team mates & coach, long term it will be better for his body to not being going against centers.
Stats via http://www.82games.com/1314/13POR13.HTM
Be sure to vote in the poll about LA & his positional effectiveness. Voice your opinion whether he should play more five, whether we have enough talent at that position & who would you acquire if you were Neil Olshey?