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LaMarcus Aldridge’s MVP-level season looks a lot like last season

Dec 18, 2013, 11:08 AM EST

Portland Trail Blazers v Phoenix Suns Getty Images

How about these numbers: 21.1 points per game on 48.4 percent shooting (17.8 shots a game), 9.1 rebounds a night and with a PER of 20.4 as the undisputed leader of his team.

That’s your newly minted early MVP candidate LaMarcus’ Aldridge’s numbers… from last season.

This season he is scoring 23.6 points per game on 48.6 percent shooting (20 shots a game), 11 rebounds a night with a PER of 23.8. Those numbers are up slightly but not dramatically from last season, he’s taking a few more shots and a little stronger on the boards, but he’s basically the same player shooting the same percentage.

What changed is he is getting noticed because the Blazers are 22-4. The team around him improved — Damian Lillard matured, Nicolas Batum is blossoming, the team’s defense has improved (not enough, still bottom 10 in the league, but improved) and the offense has exploded.

This discussion was started by a note from the often wise Couper Moorhead on twitter.

Royce Young of CBSSports picked it up from there.

They are right. Aldridge has taken on a little more of the Blazers offense this season, but his numbers are not out of line with what he did in seasons past (and coaches voted him an All-Star the last couple seasons because they knew how hard he was to guard).

Not everything is identical. One of the differences for Aldridge this season is he’s getting more post touches — last season 33.7 percent of his shot attempts came in the post and he shot 47.6 percent on those. This season he gets 41.5 percent of his attempts on post ups, shooting a reduced 40.7 percent. That’s come at the expense fewer spot up opportunities. (Stats via Synergy Sports.)

He’s getting the same number of shots as a roll man (18.7 percent of his offense) but this season is shooting nine percentage points higher, 56 percent.

But really, the big difference is you’re noticing because the Blazers are good. Aldridge is pretty much the same top power forward he has been for years.

  1. atmanne - Dec 18, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    1) I’d say that’s a little bit more than ‘up slightly’. It’s a fairly significant jump for a veteran.

    2) The MVP talk hasn’t started until recently, and it’s not just because Portland’s winning. It’s because he’s averaged 26 and 14 his last ten games.

    He’ll likely regress eventually, but he deserves every bit of the spotlight at the moment.

  2. ptownbearsfan420 - Dec 18, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    MVP!!!!!

  3. vi3tguy415 - Dec 18, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    he has always been one of the top PF. The thing that he was lacking is his motor. he didn’t have that KG trash talk in him. I guess he picked it up this year and being aggressive like he should. no doubt top 3 PF all these yrs if he had showed more aggressiveness.

  4. pistolpete0903 - Dec 18, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    He has superstar written all over him; was a fan of him since his Longhorn days.
    Unfortunately he plays in a city which is pretty much a media blackhole.
    Put him on the Knicks (or even Philly) and see the national media going gaga over him.

  5. zblott - Dec 18, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    Aldridge’s rank of Forwards and Centers…

    1) eFG% (criteria: 15 games, 10+ ppg): 48th
    2) TrueShooting% (same criteria): 48th
    3) Reb% (criteria: 15 games, 6+ rpg): 26th
    4) OffReb% (same criteria): 47th

    He’s a great shooter from the mid-range, but by this point everyone knows long 2’s are the least rewarding shot in basketball unless it is also accompanied by a good 3-pt shot, which LA doesn’t have at all. His eFG% and TS% are both below the league average since he takes so many tough shots far from the hoop without ever earning an extra point beyond the arc, plus he doesn’t get to the line.

    His total rebounding is way above his previous career numbers (falling back to earth alert), but the gains are all on defensive rebounds, the ones that are far less skill & hustle-based than offensive rebounds. Despite playing on a faster team, his offensive rebounding is regressing…kinda odd.

    Is no one going to notice that Aldridge not only is having nearly the exact same season as he always has, but it’s one that isn’t particularly good at scoring or rebounding when you actually look at the efficiency of how he’s producing?

    The Blazers are suddenly good because of 4 things:
    a) 3-pt shooting (not him)
    b) massively improved offensive rebounding (not him; their team DReb is worse)
    c) shooting more FT’s (barely him)
    d) and unique defensive system that’s been found out and solved by now (not him)

    • zblott - Dec 21, 2013 at 2:07 AM

      I just looked at the Player Tracking Data on the stats.nba.com site, and LaMarcus is again shown to be a ho-hum at best rebounder. Keep in mind with the following stats that he plays the most minutes per game of any big man in the league.

      When ranking the league by Contested Rebounds Per Game (opposing player within 3.5 feet), Aldridge is 27th with 3.4 (top 5 = Drummond, Love, Jordan, Howard, ADavis). Again, he averages more minutes than all these guys. To further show how poorly his ability to corral rebounds is when he actually has to do work and then adjusted for how much he plays, his Contested Rebound % of 30.6% (it’s what it sounds like – % of rebounds he had to actually work for) ranks 94th in the NBA, and that’s only guys who play at least 20 mins/gm.

      Inefficient scorer, inefficient rebounder, not much of a defender…yawn.

    • thesaint62222 - Jan 11, 2014 at 4:55 PM

      i just want to say thank you…and tell you that you’re absolutely “right’…HINT….look even closer to the advanced stats….FG attempts….and maybe the stat most telling…POINTS PER SHOT….

  6. nflcrimerankingscom - Dec 18, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    A +3.2 increase in PER is more than marginal…

    • antistratfordian - Dec 18, 2013 at 1:51 PM

      But only a +1.1 increase over 2011-12.

      • nflcrimerankingscom - Dec 21, 2013 at 7:51 PM

        Your mom told me a 1.1 increase is quite significant…

    • sportsfan18 - Dec 18, 2013 at 7:37 PM

      fine, a plus 3.2 increase is more than marginal.

      LeBron’s PER right now is 29.78 to Aldridge’s 23.86

      Now that IS more than a marginal distance.

      So everyone knows, I’m NOT an LBJ fan. I’m an MJ fan and older. But I have to admit that LBJ is the best player in the league.

      LeBron is #2 all time to MJ right now and is going to pass him, maybe even this season.

      LBJ has led the league in PER for the last 6 consecutive seasons with 3 of them being over a 30 PER.

      he’s leading the league so far this yr and he’ll probably end up leading the league again. 7 straight times to do that is amazing.

      In MJ’s best stretch, he led the league in PER for 7 consecutive seasons. those were the only seasons he ever led the league in PER by the way.

      Aldridge is playing well and deserves pub like others do too.

      But it’s LBJ’s to lose, NOT theirs to win.

      LBJ has to fall from his station, league leading PER, all around game for him to lose the MVP, unless the voters simply get tired of giving it to him.

      kinda like Karl Malone got it one yr instead of MJ.

      • sportsfan18 - Dec 19, 2013 at 10:36 AM

        meant to say that LBJ will most likely pass MJ in highest career PER this season and move from #2 to #1 all time for highest career PER.

        he’s got more work to do yet to pass MJ overall though.

  7. norcalkingsfan - Dec 18, 2013 at 1:30 PM

    We all know who wears the big boy jersey on that team. It’s the little dude who has the ball in his hands when the game is on the line.

  8. lolo3504 - Dec 18, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    definitely more then a little bit up IMO. To me his rebounding is the biggest difference, he’s crashing the boards with authority and playing more like the big power plants he is. His skill set hasn’t drastically improved, but the energy and consistent effort were always lacking before

    • vi3tguy415 - Dec 18, 2013 at 2:02 PM

      DONT KNOW WHY SOME IDIOT WOULD THUMB DOWN. PROBABLY JUST STARTED WATCHING HIM THIS YEAR AND DIDNT LIKE YOUR COMMENT. TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOU. he’s being more aggressive this year.

  9. antistratfordian - Dec 18, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    Couper and Royce are a little late to the party. I recognized this back on December 5 and quipped: “Well you got one thing right – Aldridge is the same guy he’s always been.”

    …and that was met with these sorts of responses:

    “Antisrtatfordian, why must you troll?” – gquesen

    “Antisrtatfordian and his ilk are pretty mcuh the biggest reason everyone wants the Heat to lose this year.” – bucrightoff

    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    My original post back on Dec 5 was going to be about how the Blazers are better primarily because Lillard and Matthews are more productive. At the time – after the Thunder game 13 days ago – Aldridge was only 4th on his own team in Win Share. He’s since moved up to tie with Lillard at 3.7 – Matthews is at 3.3 and Batum at 3.0.

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