San Antonio Spurs: LaMarcus Aldridge crucial to 2017-18’s success, future

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 27: LaMarcus Aldridge
NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 27: LaMarcus Aldridge /

Not only will LaMarcus Aldridge be crucial to the San Antonio Spurs’ success in 2017-18, but it’s an important season for his future.

Back in 2015, star forward LaMarcus Aldridge signed with the San Antonio Spurs. This contract was for four years and was worth $80 million. During a time when Tim Duncan’s career was coming to an end, this seemed like the perfect replacement.

Before signing with the Spurs, Aldridge played in Portland for nine years. During those nine years, he averaged 19 points, eight rebounds, and two assists per game. Fast forward two years later, Aldridge could be one of the most important pieces to the team.

Going into the 2017-18 season, the Spurs are lacking depth for their frontcourt. Outside of Aldridge and Gasol, the team has no real firepower. Also, losing center Dewayne Dedmon during this past offseason is going to hurt the team drastically.

Because of this, it is time for Aldridge to take control of the team.

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The forward averaged 17.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game last season. Obviously, these numbers are solid, but we know he could do better.

During his time in Portland, Aldridge was able to make a major name for himself. He had five seasons where he averaged over 20 points a game and was still putting up numbers in the rebound category.

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With superstar forward Kawhi Leonard on the team, Aldridge will not be the primary option for the Spurs. But, when Leonard is struggling, Aldridge will be looked at as the primary option. He is going to be responsible for getting the offense going as well as grabbing rebounds.

Since the team lacks depth, he will be playing more minutes. This gives him more time to put up big numbers for the team. It would be great to see him start to attack on the offensive end more like he used to.

Although a great season from him means a lot to the Spurs, he needs one for himself. At the end of this season, he is presented with a player option.

Anything less than average from him could spell a great deal of trouble. He would not be getting the offers that he is used to seeing during free agency.

This could be a great motivation for him to put everything on the floor. And as a result, this will hopefully bring in more wins for the Spurs.

There was also some speculation on Aldridge’s future with the Spurs this past offseason. When Kyrie Irving requested a trade, it was rumored that the Aldridge was part of the Spurs’ offer.

This could cause some tension between the front office and Aldridge. But he doesn’t seem to feel any himself.

He looks to be as ready as ever for this season to start. And is happy that it is in a Spurs jersey.

That time again…

— Lamarcus Aldridge (@aldridge_12) September 19, 2017

The Spurs were able to win over 60 games last season. This landed them the number two seed in the West for the playoffs. But, this season is going to be different. There were some major changes that happened over the summer.

All-Star guard Chris Paul is joining fellow All-Star James Harden in Houston. The Minnesota Timberwolves were able to sign guards Jimmy Butler and Jeff Teague. And Oklahoma City gained star forward Paul George.

With these new rosters, getting the two seed will be a challenge. But, if Aldridge produces an incredible season, the Spurs have a shot.

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With Leonard and Aldridge clicking and new face Rudy Gay off the bench, this could be the year the Spurs make it back to the finals.