Originally written December 12, 2012 on NorthWest Sports Beat:
Dwayne_poster
How great can LA be? Every NBA player has a ceiling, and it’s possible that the Portland Trail Blazers’ LaMarcus Aldridge has hit his in his seventh season. At 27 years old, LaMarcus Aldridge is the go-to option on his team, he’s a solid 20-points-per-game player and he is one of the best power forwards in the entire league. The question is, can he get even better? At this point, it’s difficult to imagine Aldridge pushing his game to another level. He’s already proven people wrong when they said he couldn’t take his game to the low block, but the areas where he needs to truly improve is in the rebounding and shot-blocking areas of the stat sheet. Aldridge is a top power forward in the NBA, but he may have hit his ceiling at 27. (Photo: Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE) Aldridge is 6’11”, 240 pounds, and he has the frame to be a presence on the glass despite averaging just 7.6 rebounds for his career. He also has the wingspan to affect shots on defense, but his focus has always been on the offensive end, and it’s difficult to imagine that changing as he gets older. The other area where Aldridge has seemingly maxed out is in his toughness. He’s shown he can take over in big moments, but that mentality doesn’t always appear to be present. Despite being the sole veteran with All-Star experience, the Blazer big has been plagued by inconsistency this season. He’s been given more shots than ever before in his career, yet his field-goal percentage is the lowest it’s ever been. His points have also dipped below what we’ve seen the last two years. Aldridge has likely hit his NBA ceiling, but if you’re a fan in Rip City, this isn’t a bad thing. Aldridge’s ceiling has made him an All-Star power forward in a tough Western Conference. Whether he gets back to the All-Star game this year or not, he’s one of the best big men in the league, and he’s an offensive threat every night of the week. Hitting your ceiling early isn’t a bad thing, especially when you’re ceiling is higher than most in the NBA will ever experience. Aldridge was thrust into the lead role following the injuries of Brandon Roy, and he took full advantage. He became the team’s leading scorer, he began shooting the ball better than 50 percent and he officially made a name for himself on the national stage. If Aldridge effectively improves his rebounding and shot-blocking numbers—while remaining a threat on offense—it’s possible that he could take another step in the direction toward the best power forward in the game. Until then, though, you have to believe Aldridge has hit his ceiling while still being one of the best bigs that the league has to offer. CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE BLAZERS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE TODAY AT NWSB!
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