LaMarcus Aldridge left a team he’s been with for nearly a decade with high hopes. In fact, he decided to leave Portland in pursuit of his dreams of winning an NBA title. And that’s exactly what the Spurs signed him in for.
This was almost two years ago. The Spurs don’t seem in championship form right now, although they always come up with ways to surprise us. It’s the way they’ve always been, thanks to Gregg Popovich’ ability to lead, highlighting always on the basics of the game.
But LaMarcus Aldridge still hasn’t found his true role in the team all this time. He continues to underwhelm. He hasn’t found his groove in the new set up, and his confidence seems to wane.
“It’s tough because of this offense, it’s not really easy to demand the ball,” LaMarcus Aldridge said in a report by MySanAntonio. “It’s about movement and posting up Kawhi (Leonard), and run pick and roll with Pau (Gasol). It’s not easy … but I’m picking my spots and trying to learn how to do it in the flow of the offense. It’s a skill to learn and I’m learning it.
LaMarcus Aldridge finds rhythm
Against the Bulls, it seemed that things just happened to LaMarcus Aldridge. After he decided to take a risk it all just “happened.”
Gregg Popovich has been urging him to demand the ball more. LaMarcus Aldridge started the game strong, and his self-confidence fueled for near perfection. For the first time, he finally seemed to be doing what he’s been planning all along when he left the Trailblazers.
“I was just catching and shooting,” LaMarcus Aldridge said in a report by SBNation. “Coach was telling me to try to find my shot more.” And so he did and made his first 11 shots and finished 15-for-20 from the field with 33 points and nine rebounds.
“Once you hit two or three, the basket just seems big,” Aldridge told ESPN. “I didn’t see this coming.”
Gregg Popovich impressed
Gregg Popovich had called on some players in the team to pick up their game, and most feel it was an implied reference on Aldridge. But against the Bulls Gregg Popovich was really impressed.
“We’re always happy when he catches and shoots, and doesn’t think too much about if he’s open at all,” Popovich said. “He’s a great shooter. We like to have him shoot it, but he’s also unselfish. So he wants to run what we’re running and that kind of thing. I think he’s starting to figure out that it’s important for us for him to score.”
The Bulls weren’t in sync with their game against the Spurs. Their defense was poor and Lopez failed to contain LaMarcus Aldridge. In fact, half of his attempts were uncontested, not to take away anything from his brilliant performance at all.
Fans hope LaMarcus Aldrige can follow up on his performance, a sign that not only was it a one-time thing, but that he’s finally found the role he pursued almost two years ago.
Photo courtesy: Keith Allison/Wikimedia
Video courtesy: Youtube/NBA