Another MVP Week
Name: LaMarcus Aldridge
Last Week’s Stats: 29.3 PPG, 14.3 RPG, 51.5 FG%
Another week down, another brilliant series of performances from the Portland Trail Blazers‘ LaMarcus Aldridge.
In Week 12, the Blazers went 3-0, and Aldridge put on quite a show. He had three double-doubles in three wins, he scored at an efficient rate and he absolutely dominated the glass regardless of who was in his way.
On the year, Aldridge has been the Blazers’ MVP. Damian Lillard has been fantastic, as he’s managed to improve upon his historic Rookie of the Year season, but it’s the big man who has stepped up his game more than anyone anticipated.
Last week, the Blazers faced the Cleveland Cavaliers, the San Antonio Spurs and the Dallas Mavericks. While only the Spurs are looked at as a true contender, all three are playoff-caliber opponents, and two of them (the Spurs and the Mavs) had home-court advantage.
Aldridge started off the week right with a near 30-20 performance. He finished with 32 points and 18 rebounds, and he managed to collect four assists and shoot 7-of-7 from the line in the process.
His stat lines would decrease a bit the two succeeding games, but his efficiency improved, which is a trade off any fan in Portland should take.
Against the Spurs, Aldridge shot 50 percent to go along with his 26 points and 13 rebounds. The efficiency somehow improved once more the following night in Dallas, as his 30 points and 12 rebounds came in just 32 minutes on 11-of-18 shooting (61.1 percent).
The question that few are asking at this point, but is worth bringing to the surface, is whether or not Aldridge’s success is sustainable. We’ve already tackled this topic when it comes to the team as a whole, but nobody seems to be mentioning that the power forward is playing the best basketball of his career, and that we’ve never seem him play at such a high level for such a long time.
Consider each side of the argument. Those who believe Aldridge can keep it going will say that he’s never had so much talent around him. The pressure is no longer solely on his shoulders, which has resulted in a more laid-back version of the quiet follower we’ve seen in the past.
Then again, detractors will point out the the help behind him isn’t nearly as impressive as it is in the starting lineup.
When you go to the bench, you have Thomas Robinson and Meyers Leonard vying for time as the backup 4. Neither has earned the gig full-time, and the reason is because neither has stepped up as much as we would have hoped.
Whichever side you believe, one thing is for sure: Aldridge and the Trail Blazers are for real. This is a group that has one goal in mind, and that’s going deep into the postseason for the first time in what seems like forever.
If you ask me, Aldridge won’t stop until this team’s run in the playoffs has come to an end. Barring injury, he’s going to utilize his mid-range jumper to spread the floor, the squad’s three-point shooting will allow him to go one-on-one and his newfound leadership will prove to be the difference when games come down to crunch time.
Then again, my crystal ball has gone missing, meaning only time will tell how Aldridge’s MVP campaign plays out.