Why Basketball Trainers Love NBA All-Star Lamarcus Aldridge
After a long night of basketball training, three basketball trainers got together for a discussion of NBA playoffs. One player rose to the top of the discussion. University of Texas alumnus Lamarcus Aldridge is one of the premier power forwards in the NBA today. He is the best player on a playoff team in the tough Western Conference, and he is living up to his potential as the Number 2 pick of the 2006 NBA draft. Lamarcus is a player who was recognized for his ability as a high school All American, but didn’t come into the NBA with as much fanfare as some of the other current stars in the league. Over time, Lamarcus has developed and refined his game to become exactly the type of player that basketball trainers and coaches love. Here is why we love Lamarcus Aldridge.
Basketball Trainers Love Consistency
Basketball trainers love Lamarcus’ consistency. In the 2013-2014 NBA season, Lamarcus averaged 23.2 points and 11.1 rebounds. He had the celebrated “20-10” season (points and rebounds). 20-10 is a benchmark for elite big men. It means that they are handling their business in both the scoring and rebounding departments on a consistent basis. As a former power forward, I can tell you that it takes great effort to consistently score and rebound as those elite levels. Do you know how many players averaged 20-10 during the 2013-2014 NBA season? Only 4. The other players were Kevin Love, Demarcus Cousins and Al Jefferson. That’s pretty good company. Lamarcus’ teammates could count on his production every night, as he only scored in single digits once during the season, and that was in a blowout win for his team. Lamarcus shows great leadership by producing at high levels for his team night in and night out.
Basketball Trainers Love Guys Who Take Their Skills To Work
Basketball trainers love that Lamarcus goes to work. If you’ve played basketball in various leagues and gyms around your city, you’ve undoubtedly heard the expression “go to work” when a certain player gets the ball. The phrase “go to work” refers to asserting yourself to score! Your teammate tells you to go to work when he knows you have the talent to score and he wants you to go do it. Believe it or not, a lot of good players don’t possess the ability to score 1-on-1 when the defense KNOWS they are trying to score. Some players pick their spots and shoot when they’re open and some players require on-ball or off-ball screens to get them in a position to score. It’s a great luxury for a team to have a guy who can consistently get his own shot when his team needs a bucket. Lamarcus didn’t always show this ability. He used to be a player that seemed not to want the responsibility to score on-call. But now, as a more mature player, Lamarcus can score when needed. It takes a lot of skill, mental toughness and leadership to consistently be the guy your team looks for to score, and to deliver. We appreciate players who are confident and skilled enough to go to work on a consistent basis.
Versatility In Skill Development
We love the fact that Lamarcus Aldridge is versatile and mature. Versatility means the ability to do multiple things. As it relates to basketball, we are usually talking about offensive skills. Maturity refers to making smart decisions. We also are normally talking about offense but in this case it applies to defense as well. Lamarcus is a player who can score in the post, who can score on jump shots, and can even shoot the 3 point shot. When he came into the league, however, he was known more as a jump shooter. Some considered him a little soft, but none could deny his skills. Versatile forwards like Kevin Garnett, who Lamarcus admired growing up, influenced up-and-coming big men to do more than just use their size in the post. Today, you see some big players who take this too far, and do everything EXCEPT for post-up. As Lamarcus has matured, he has learned to harness his versatile skillset and now he truly does take what the defense gives him. When he has shorter or weaker opponents, he takes them into the post, using his strong frame to get high percentage looks at the basket. When he has slower or larger opponents, he still utilizes his deft jumpshot. On defense, Lamarcus has learned to use his physicality and length to bother opponents, and he will even take charges from time to time. When you watch Lamarcus Aldridge, you are watching a player who is getting the most out of his all-around talent on both ends of the floor.
Individual Skills With Team Mindset
One of the biggest reasons trainers love Lamarcus Aldridge is because he’s a star who is also a team player. You know as well as I do it is not a given that a star will be a team player. A lot of times stars can believe in themselves so much or believe in their teammates so little that they are always demanding the ball and belittling teammates for making mistakes. You see none of that with Lamarcus. Lamarcus is a willing screen-setter for his talented wing teammates, and he keeps an even-keel attitude on the basketball court whether he or his teammates aren’t playing well. By all accounts he seems like a guy players love to play with. Lamarcus plays with All Star point guard Damian Lillard, who is a 21 point per game scorer himself, and the two have good on-court chemistry. There is no Shaq and Kobe feud in the Blazers lock room. Lamarcus has done a good job of balancing high individual production with a team-first attitude and a positive relationship with teammates. You gotta love it, and we do.
Lamarcus Aldridge is a player that trainers and coaches love because of how he plays the game from night to night, and because of how he interacts with his teammates. He is a player young stars can learn a lot from, in both his tangible skills and his intangible attitude towards the game and teammates. We salute Lamarcus Aldridge and will be cheering him on the rest of his All Star career. Go Big L!