Where Aldridge needs to become a better passer

If you haven’t read it already, I highly recommend reading Ben Golliver’s detailed analysis of some Synergy Sports numbers a little bird dropped off on his doorstep. Really great stuff, and it’s not as hard to follow as you might think, as Synergy offers understandable ratings. The Blazers’ offense would benefit greatly from improvements from Roy in the pick-and-roll and by Aldridge in passing out of the post, the latter of which we’ll highlight:

For most big men, criticism of their passing focuses on one thing: turnovers.  In Aldridge’s case, though, he avoids turnovers on 93% of his passes.  For a near seven footer, even a fluid freak like Aldridge, that’s impressive.  But even though his passes hit the mark, they don’t lead to buckets.

Look at some of these numbers. Spot up shooters hit just 30.3% overall off of passes from Aldridge when the defense commits a second man to guarding him in the post. It doesn’t really matter where he passes from: when he’s on the left block they shoot 29.2%, the right block 33.3%.  When teams hard double Aldridge — that is, send a second defender to really harass him with the ball, forcing a pass — he’s even worse.  The extra attention doesn’t lead to more turnovers but it does lead to even worse shooting once Aldridge decides to pass. Overall, spot-up shooters hit less than 17% of their shots after Aldridge has been hard doubled.  Again, it doesn’t much matter which block Aldridge is passing from.

For comparison purposes, Aldridge trails Oden in virtually every pass out category that Synergy tracks.  Overall, the Blazers shoot nearly 7 percentage points better when Oden passes out than when Aldridge passes out when the defense commits to the post player.  Both players struggle when getting hard-doubled, which doesn’t happen a lot, but shooters off Oden passes shoot more than 8 percentage points better than when Aldridge is the passer.  Oden is also substantially more effective at hitting cutters when the defense commits, rating “Good” and in the 60% percentile.  Aldridge cannot be ranked in this category because, according to Synergy, he has only hit 2 cutters for baskets from the post during the first 20 games combined.

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