Andres Alvarez of BoxScoreGeeks.com cuts against the grain during a season of unchecked praise for LaMarcus Aldridge, arguing that the Portland Trail Blazers All-Star forward is "overrated."
Alvarez writes that it's "nuts" to consider Aldridge an MVP candidate because his 51.7 percent True Shooting Percentage is below-average for his position. True Shooting Percentage weighs a player's field goal shooting, three-point shooting and free throws to measure points per shot.
Of course, most people assume Aldridge is awesome on offense. His high point totals and assists would seem to back this. Except, Aldridge' True Shooting Percentage (which factors in a players three point shooting and free throws) is a full 2.1% worse than the average PF. In fact, it's worse than the average at every position in the league! And what that means is that, on average, Aldridge is costing his team every time he shoots!
Aldridge is just following an age old formula used by players like Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony: be the top scorer on a team of underrated players. But Aldridge isn't an MVP talent. He doesn't make his team better (why didn't his chucking improve his teams in the past? Was he simply shooting too well?). No, the story is that Aldridge has finally gotten better teammates. And the response from the community has been to give Aldridge the credit. While that's definitely good for Aldridge, it's not good for Blazers' fans who hope for a championship.
The full post -- which singles out Robin Lopez's offensive rebounding and the outside shooting of Damian Lillard and Wesley Matthews for praise -- is right here.
Aldridge's True Shooting Percentage and 46.9 percent field goal percentage are currently at career-low marks while he's leading the league in field goal attempts, launching 21.2 shots per game (by far a career-high).
Aldridge is Portland's leading scorer and rebounder and the Blazers have the league's No. 1 ranked offense. His 23.2 PER, his 6.0 Win Shares and his plus-7.5 net rating all are team-leading marks. He was recently selected for his third All-Star Game and currently sits in the No. 3 spot on NBA.com's MVP ladder, trailing Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant and Miami Heat forward LeBron James.
Aldridge shook off a tough weekend and returned to form in Tuesday's loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, finishing with 27 points, 16 rebounds, two blocks and two assists. The Trail Blazers need that sort of work from Aldridge every night because they lack another frontcourt player capable of that production on a regular basis. And his January production -- 26.1 points, 13.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.4 blocks -- suggests that he's prepared to go the distance for the Blazers, if need be. You know Blazers coach Terry Stotts won't have it any other way.
Blazers coach Terry Stotts recently offered this assessment of Aldridge's season.
"I stand by my belief that he's the best power forward in the game," Stotts said. "I think he showed it again tonight. It's not the first time he's shown that. The starters are voted by the fans, but I think LaMarcus has the respect of the coaches and the players and the general managers in the league. He's going to be in the All-Star Game and deservedly so. I think he just proved, once again, that he's the best power forward [in the NBA]."
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-- Ben Golliver | email@example.com | Twitter