Head coach Gregg Popovich said the San Antonio Spurs would be lost without LaMarcus Aldridge, while the team deals with other injuries.
Trading LaMarcus Aldridge seemed like a possibility for the San Antonio Spurs in the offseason. However, as of Nov. 24, it’s difficult to imagine where the team would be without him, with an 11-7 record and even after getting crushed by the New Orleans Pelicans.
Before Wednesday’s game, according to Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said the team would be “lost” without Aldridge and how he’s “gotten us through this period of time without Tony and Kawhi in a wonderful way.” New Orleans Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry also noticed the difference and referenced the increased touches.
Of course, this has happened without Kawhi Leonard, who hurt his quad in the offseason and never played a minute in the preseason or the first 18 games of the regular season. There remains no timetable for his return. The same goes for Tony Parker.
Through the first quarter of the season, Aldridge has looked like a different player for the Spurs. He’s produced double-digit points in every game, while hitting at least 20 points in all but five games. Every appearance has seen him take the lead offensive role, receiving the most shots per game and touches. It’s all to soften the burden without Leonard, which has kept this team afloat.
Through these games, the five-time All-Star averaged 21.9 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.2 blocks. Most of the numbers are his best since being on the Portland Trail Blazers, where he played the leading role for nearly one decade.
For however much longer Leonard sits out, Aldridge will stay in this role and potentially make his way into the 2018 NBA All-Star Game. The same goes for building the Spurs’ record and keeping them in the middle of the Western Conference race.