The San Antonio Spurs are reeling as All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge has continued to crumble before their eyes.
San Antonio is 2-5 since the start of November and a lot of the blame falls on LA. Between his inexplicable lack of assertiveness and surprising inability to drain open jumpers, it’s been hard to watch him play basketball this month.
Even though LaMarcus was spectacular in the wins against New Orleans and Houston, he’s been next to useless in the losses. Need proof? Then look no further than his per game numbers when San Antonio takes an L.
Just when I thought LA couldn’t get any worse, he proved me wrong again. After tonight, Aldridge is averaging just 11.0 points per game on 31.6% shooting from the field in Spurs losses. His disappearing act is getting out of hand. #GoSpursGo pic.twitter.com/ctKAzC74oo
— Noah Magaro-George (@N_Magaro) November 16, 2018
LaMarcus’ efficiency isn’t the only aspect of his game to take a hit. If shots aren’t falling on offense, everything seems to spiral out of control for the former Longhorn.
What makes matters worse are the opponents the Spurs are losing to. The Los Angeles Clippers are a possible exception, but Orlando, Miami, Sacramento and Phoenix aren’t exactly the kind of names that strike fear into the heart of NBA competitors.
16 days ago, the boys were busy blowing out the baby-faced Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Aldridge scored 24 points in 23 minutes that night and got first overall pick Deandre Ayton into foul trouble.
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Fast forward a few weeks and the scene has changed quite drastically. The Spurs were back in Phoenix on Wednesday, but this time LaMarcus barely managed to scrape together 6 points as San Antonio found themselves on the wrong end of a 20 point trouncing.
It would be forgivable if it looked like he was giving it his all on a nightly basis. However, I can’t say with 100% certainty he’s been putting his best foot forward. Most nights he’s looked disinterested and sorry for himself.
As much as it hurts me to say this, Aldridge is beginning to look more like the LaMarcus of 2016-2017. In case you forgot, that’s the same LA that missed the All-Star game for the first time in five years, requested a trade in the offseason and looked completely lost when Kawhi Leonard went down in the 2017 Western Conference Finals.
Although LA hasn’t looked like himself this season, it hasn’t been all bad for the six-time All-Star. When the score-first forward can’t find his rhythm, he’s made himself useful by racking up every rebound in within arm’s reach.
Aldridge is 11th in rebounds per game this season and on pace to close in on his career-high in that category. While his rebounding has improved from recent memory, his average has skyrocketed to 12.7 rebounds per game in Spurs losses.
His resurgence on the boards is encouraging, though what really gives me hope for a midseason turnaround is LA’s play in San Antonio victories. When the Spurs get their guy going early, he’s been tough to slow down.
LaMarcus Aldridge has been a mixed bag of results this year. The Spurs win when he’s hot and lose when he’s not.
Wins (7GP)23.7 PPG9.3 RPG3.1 APG.481 FG%.535 TS%112 ORtg105 DRtg9.3 +/-
Losses (4GP)11.8 PPG10.8 RPG2.5 APG.322 FG%.371 TS%89 ORtg117 DRtg-18.2 +/- pic.twitter.com/iiFtmCfP8t
— Noah Magaro-George (@N_Magaro) November 12, 2018
Another welcome sight is how well he’s performed against some of the league’s best big men. Aldridge’s shooting percentages haven’t exactly been a perfect picture of efficiency, but he’s stayed engaged and aggressive when the competition rises.
Is it confusing? Very. Will I take it? You bet.
The inconsistency LaMarcus Aldridge has shown this year has been concerning, to say the least. With that said, it’s important to remember that San Antonio is only 14 games into an 82 game regular season.
While 14 games equate to roughly 17% of their entire schedule, a sample size this small can’t predict what may happen months down the road. The season is still young and there will be plenty of time for Aldridge to shake off his rust.
Many Spurs fans, myself included, are worried by his early season struggles, but LaMarcus is confident he’ll slip out of his funk.
“I don’t think I’ve ever gone through (something like) this…But I will figure it out.”
The Golden State Warriors come to town Sunday and the Spurs must defend their turf to stay above .500 on the season. Kevin Durant and crew aren’t playing their best basketball right now, but don’t be fooled into thinking a win will come easily.
San Antonio can’t rely on the heroics of DeMar DeRozan alone. They’ll need LaMarcus Aldridge to show up if they have any chance to take home a much-needed dub this weekend.
More adversity is heading LA’s way. Can he handle the pressure or will he continue to fall?