LMA! LMA! LMA! If you are looking for one player on the team to really show extreme growth this year, you should look no further than LaMarcus Aldridge. Going from 9 PPG and 5 RPG in his rookie campaign to almost 18 and 8 in his sophomore year should have guaranteed his spot atop of the MIP list, but once again we found no love up northwest in Portland.
We touched on Brandon Roy reaping the benefits of Oden, well LaMarcus could see an even greater positive to the addition of the big guy. That wing and elbow jumper he loves so much will become even more of an option. Assuming he continues to knock down those outside shots with regularity, we may just see his scoring numbers skyrocket even more-so than they did last year. And we all know the guy is a freakin’ gazelle and should catch even more buckets with the way the team new found ability to run now with Oden holding down the middle defensively.
However, even with the positives surrounding his role this year, you should still be a little worried that if things aren’t going as initially planned, LMA could be the first Blazer to show some frustrations. You have to think as Oden progresses, and Roy solidifies himself as a top tier player and ultimate #1 option, that Aldridge could become antsy. Contracts are coming due within the next year and it could be difficult to keep Roy, Oden, Fernandez, Bayless, and Aldridge all around. I’m just hoping LMA isn’t the last man out as his upside seems to be off the charts.
Last season stats: 17.8 PPG 7.6 RBD 1.6 ASST 1.2 BLK 34:53 MIN