Former Portland Trail Blazers star LaMarcus Aldridge’s retirement has captured a plethora of headlines across the NBA this week. As the dust settles, a handful of pundits have explored Aldridge’s place in the pantheon of the greatest power forwards in league history.
On Friday, Yahoo Sports NBA contributor Ben Rohrbach examined Aldridge’s Hall of Fame case. Rohrbach highlighted that Aldridge’s sudden retirement left him just shy of the 20,000-point threshold, putting him right on the border of nearly-guaranteed HOF entry.
He fell 49 points shy of 20,000 career points, a milestone he would have hit with the Nets if not for his abnormal heart rhythm on Saturday. He scored 64 points in five games for Brooklyn since San Antonio bought out the remainder of his contract late last month. Every 20,000-point scorer in NBA history is in the Hall of Fame but the three just ahead of Aldridge: Joe Johnson, Tom Chambers and Antawn Jamison.
In terms of year-end recognition, Aldridge’s five All-NBA nods puts him right on the precipice of the HOF.
“Aldridge’s five All-NBA selections also place him at the border of Springfield. Every player with six or more All-NBA nods is in. The five-timers club includes a who’s who of Hall of Fame finalists still awaiting the call, namely Chris Webber, Tim Hardaway and Ben Wallace. Mitch Richmond, the first Hall of Famer mentioned in the “everybody makes it” discussion, made five All-NBA rosters. Blake Griffin will join that list one day.”
Finally, Rohrbach explained that if Aldridge does somehow fall short of HOF entry, his career profile could serve as the new cut off line for future hopefuls.
There is a real chance Aldridge would have played a vital role in the Nets winning a title this year. Instead, his Hall of Fame case is what it is, each line item teetering on the edge. If he falls short, his career — seven All-Star selections, five All-NBA bids, nearly 20,000 points and a playoff career marked by losses to a pair of the greatest teams ever in his two best shots to make a Finals — is the new threshold for Not Quite Great Enough for enshrinement. That does not sit right, knowing the threshold was lowered for Richmond.
Before signing with the Spurs in the summer of 2015, Aldridge played his first nine seasons in Portland. With the Blazers, he appeared in 648 regular season games. In those outings, he posted averages of 19.4 points and 8.4 rebounds per game.
Inside the Blazers’ all-time statistical leaderboard, Aldridge clocks in at No. 3 in scoring (behind only Clyde Drexler and Damian Lillard) and leads the franchise in total rebounds.
You can read Rohrbach’s full story at Yahoo Sports.