Portland Trail Blazers: Counting down the most interesting Draft player comparisons in team history

CJ McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
CJ McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images) /
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Portland Trail Blazers
LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

LaMarcus Aldridge: University of Texas-Austin, 2004-05 – 2005-06

Was compared to:

Earlier this week, we broached the touchy subject that is LaMarcus Aldridge’s case for a future jersey retirement as a Portland Trail Blazers legend. As a Blazer, he made four All-Star teams and three All-NBA teams. But if we’re basing this solely on what his Draft comparison was, all he needed was one to qualify as an overachiever.

Similar to Lillard, many of the strengths used to delineate Aldridge’s playstyle prior to the 2006 NBA Draft are still in effect in 2020. The back-to-basket game and the soft touch on fadeaways were always there.

On the flip side, as Aldridge mentioned in a DraftExpress interview, getting used to banging in the post night-after-night would take some time, and the need to develop a killer instinct is something that critics to this day have used to cavil at Aldridge’s resumè. As we know today, Portland saw enough potential in him to cash in on a Draft day deal for Tyrus Thomas and Victor Khryapa.

Some saw Aldridge as more of the Chris Bosh, Jermaine O’Neal type, but the prevailing comparison for every source was Channing Frye. In some ways, it makes sense; both players, especially in the mid-2000s relied more on finesse, and struggled against aggressive frontcourts. Still, even though he’d eventually become a solid role player for some of the NBA’s most memorable teams this decade, this comparison feels as though it lacked a bit of ambition.

Ironically enough, by Aldridge’s second season, Portland employed both Aldridge and Frye on its frontline for the next two seasons. They’re probably thanking their lucky stars that one of them was able to separate himself just a little bit more, though.