In case you didn’t already know, LaMarcus Aldridge has been selected to participate in the All-Star Game later this month as a reserve for the Western Conference. According to the press release delivered by the team, LA is the 15th player from the Blazers franchise to be selected to the All-Star Game.
LA ranks fifth in the NBA in scoring with a career-best 23.3 points per game, to which he adds 8.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.12 steals. Pretty nice numbers, not to mention that LaMarcus is only one of three players in the league with his scoring average or better to shoot at least 50% from the floor. LaMarcus deserved his inclusion this season. He deserved it last year too.
Marc Gasol joins LA as first-timers for the West (there are five guys making their first All-Star Game appearance due to some regulars not having super productive, lock-out expurgated season). ESPN.com has the roster for both teams.
LaMarcus had a conference call with local media members to discuss his selection. Ben from Blazersedge has a brief Twitter recap. The Trail Blazers official Twitter feed has a couple nice videos (players and coaches here, office staff here). The team video is an especially nice moment for LaMarcus.
As for the impact this All-Star Game may or may not have on LA or the rest of the season? The best I can say is that’s a tough call. An All-Star nod for some players can be the type of recognition that lights a fire under their career, for better or for worse. Brandon Roy’s first All-Star bid was the league’s way of saying that his Rookie of the Year year was no fluke, fast tracking him to super-stardom (better). Russell Westbrook’s first ASG nom planted in his head the germ of the idea that he might be the best player on his team and not a guy named Kevin Durant (worse).
Westbrook and Roy were both All-Stars early in their careers, so they make weak comparisons. Somebody like Chris Kaman might be a little more comparable. Kaman was selected to his first All-Star Game in his seventh season. It was a big build up to that point, and basically a big let down since. Working a whole career to get included one time can have that effect on a guy. I doubt LaMarcus will be Kaman-esque, but it is a little late for LA to be a young All-Star.
As for what this means to the team, hopefully, it means anything, or has any effect, it will be positive. Portland is having trouble right now finding an identity. Having their best and most consistent player recognized for his outstanding play could turn out to be just what the Blazers need to get on track and move back into the thick of the Playoff run.
And hey, now LaMarcus gets to be introduced as “Western Conference All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge.” It’ll be nice to hear that on the Rose Garden PA again.
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