Make no mistake, LaMarcus Aldridge is the Blazers best player. At some point, Damian Lillard may earn that distinction, but the fact of the matter is, Lillard was only a rookie last year, and Aldridge is a two-time All-Star in the prime of his career. Aldridge can score from pretty much anywhere. He has a great shot from outside and, over the years, has developed an array of post moves. His fade-away jumper is lethal with his long arms and he is a great post passer. Although, he does tend to drift away from the paint at times, when he commits to his inside game, he is very effective at it.
That being said, with his 6 feet 11 inch size and long arms, Aldridge should be a better rebounder. Aldridge has improved his rebounding every year in the league and averaged 9.1 rebounds a game in the 2012-13 season but he still ranked 16th in total rebounds a game. Some critics may say that Aldridge isn’t tough enough. I would have to disagree with them. When Aldridge committed himself to crashing the boards, for stretches last year, he had some monster rebounding stats and ended up with 33 double-doubles last season. However, Aldridge did not maintain a consistent level of rebounding throughout the season.
I think this will change in the 2013-14 season. First off, the ultra-energetic and rebounding stud, JJ Hickson, is gone this year. Sometimes he would steal rebounds from Aldridge with how aggressively he went after the ball and he was usually too small to box out his man. Second, Robin Lopez isn’t a great rebounder, but with his 7 foot size, he is a much bigger body than JJ was, and will take up space in the middle. His ability to box out opposing centers should help free up Aldridge for more rebounds. Finally, Aldridge has improved his rebounding totals every year in his career and I don’t see that trend changing this season.
What are your thoughts? Will Aldridge improve as a rebounder this year, or has he reached his peak? Will the presence of Lopez help Aldridge’s rebounding numbers? Post your thoughts in the comment section.