Apr 15, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks forwardDirk Nowitzki
(41) guards Portland Trail Blazers forwardLaMarcus Aldridge
(12) during the game at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks defeated the Trail Blazers 114-98. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
LaMarcus Aldridge signed with the San Antonio Spurs to a four-year, $80 million contract. He was one of the best free-agents available on the market. Aldridge had spent the first nine seasons of his career in Portland. The Trail Blazers were one of the best teams in the Western Conference the last two seasons, but they couldn’t take the next step as a championship contender.
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Aldridge won’t have to carry a team like he did in Portland with Damian Lillard, but he will have to be a force for the Spurs to reach their goal of winning a championship. Last year, Aldridge averaged 23.4 points and 10.2 rebounds. He is the only player in the NBA to average at least 23 points and 10 rebounds back-to-back seasons. In the postseason, Aldridge averaged 21.8 points and 11.2 rebounds. The problem is that he shot an abysmal 33% from the field, as he was going up against Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.
It is evident that Aldridge is an elite big man in today’s game. He’s placed in the top 10 in MVP votes the past two years.
Aldridge won’t go for 25-30 points on a regular basis like he has the past few seasons, but he will still dominate games. Being in practice with veterans like Tim Duncan and David West his defense will improve. He won’t be expected to carry a heavy load as the Spurs are much deeper than any team he’s been on, as a result he might be a much improved defender.
Since the Spurs will likely be a top-4 seed in the West, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Aldridge finishes top-5 in MVP votes. He should put up in the range of 20 points and 10 rebounds.
With Tim Duncan and Tony Parker only getting older it was important for the Spurs to land a younger star. The 30-year old power forward is in his prime right now, which means the Spurs are in must win mode immediately.