Zach Lowe of Grantland.com takes a lengthy look at the Portland Trail Blazers' recent struggles.
The dip in offense is worrisome, and it begins with Aldridge, once a stealth choice for a no. 3 or no. 4 spot on MVP ballots. Aldridge's post game has fallen apart since early February, when his groin issues flared up (ow!), and that fall-off has infected the rest of Portland's beautiful game. Aldridge is shooting just 35.6 percent on shots from the block since mid-January, per Synergy Sports. Aldridge shot 41.5 percent on post-up shots over Portland's first 40 games, so he was never an especially efficient shooter after catching down there, but he rarely turned the ball over, and he drew a ton of help. His turnovers are up, and 35 percent is just a disastrously low mark for a guy on pace to break the record for most midrange jumpers ever attempted in one season. Among 102 players who have attempted at least 50 post-up shots this season, that 35.6 would tie Kosta Koufos for 95th.
A lot of folks around the league wondered during Portland's hot start what might happen if other teams stopped sending so much help at Aldridge, left him (mostly) in single coverage, and stuck closer to Portland's shooters. The last two months have provided our first answer, and it has been bad for the Blazers.
His full piece is right here.
Thanks to BlazerFan72 for beating me to it in the FanShots.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter