10 Reasons the Fans should be Mad at NBA All-Star
Let me first say that my highlight of Thursday was to hear if LaMarcus would get credited with the respect he deserves, and that is being in the All-Star game in LA. Being a fan of this league, I would have thought the coaches would show their respect by voting in the savior of this team, as without a doubt LaMarcus deserves a spot. Unfortunately, I was disappointed, as much as every one of the Blazer fans that thought he should have been in the All-Star game. Add insult to injury, a growing Blazer rival, Blake Griffin gets in for his stats, while players like Pau Gasol and Tim Duncan get in based on record. Aldridge is in the middle of the two. Impressive stats, and impressive record. Yet, he does not get in. How pathetic.
Here are my top 10 reasons why the Fans have every right to be upset with the NBA for "robbing" LaMarcus at the opportunity he deserves.
10) The Only Opportunity
With growing stars like Blake Griffin and Kevin Love, and even Randolph and West getting some votes, this was LaMarcus' only opportunity to really reach the All-Star game. Everything, for him, fell into place for him to make the All-Star game. He came out of his shelf, is now entering his prime, and has been given the keys to the car. Normally, Brandon Roy is the driver, and likely will be once he returns. LaMarcus gets more shots, more rebound opportunities, and more playing time with the injuries in place. If worse comes to worse, the Blazers will have the same injuries and LaMarcus will get another opportunity like he did this season, but we don't expect that to happen, and we don't want that to happen.
9) Pau Gasol creates trade talks, LaMarcus erases them
In my previous blog, I mentioned how the trade talks of "rebuilding" were erased due to LaMarcus's play on the court. In the previous weeks, if you've been watching NBA.com, you'll notice the past couple of poll questions, hang time blogs, and top stories have been the Lakers questioning trade, and the Pau Gasol-Kobe era being done. We had similar stories at the start of the season. We did a complete 180 in the right direction. The Lakers, with the help of Pau Gasol, did a complete flip flop in the wrong direction. Not to mention the Lakers are horribly under performing for what they should be doing, being the reigning NBA Champions. The Blazers are over performing for what they should be doing. How many teams could make the playoffs missing 3 of your key guys? Not many. . . (heck, not many could beat the Spurs).
8) Stop Aldridge, you win. But you lost.
How many teams do you think come into the Rose Garden (or, just face the Blazers) and have the game plan of "Stop Aldridge"? If you've guessed anything short of 30 teams, you're wrong. That's the game plan. Can the rest of the NBA say that their game plan has been to stop Griffin, Love, Gasol, Duncan, or Nowitzki? Probably not. The rest of those teams are fairly talented (except maybe Minnesota). So the teams come into the Rose Garden with that game plan, and yet Aldridge has been still able to put 20-25+ points on them, and winning the game. You think the Spurs game plan was to stop Wesley Mathews and Batum? Highly doubt it. They tried everyone on LaMarcus, and he dominated them for a career high of 40. I bet if you put those defenders on any other powerforward, they wouldn't be dropping 40 on 16-23 shooting. There are very few teams that have been able to stop Aldridge, and all they've done was put a dent in his scoring. Aldridge has been double teamed, triple teamed, been the key of the defense more than ANYONE else in the league, except maybe LeBron, and teams are still having trouble beating them.
7) The Recent Matchups
Against the players that have made it in Aldridge's spot...
Against Tim Duncan - 40 points
Against Blake Griffin - 28 points
Against Nowitzki - 35 points
He hasn't played Gasol recently.
Aldridge has dominated the recent matchups of these players that made it. He scored 40 points on the Spurs. The "big 3" of the Spurs scored 38.
6) Best Defender at his position
Arguably, LaMarcus Aldridge has been the better defender at his position. After the latest matchup against Griffin, the LA radio hosts supposedly continued to say "LaMarcus scores, that was too easy". And many fans complained that Griffin looked too much like a rookie against LaMarcus.
How often do we hear Phil Jackson complain about Gasol being far too soft? About 5 times already this season. Gasol is a softy. He's got long arms, but his defense is one reason Kobe rates the entire team's defense as an "F".
Let's just say, that, with Nowitzki, people believe the Mavs will finally be able to win a championship because they got their inside defense with Chandler. That's saying a lot if your powerfoward can't defend other powerfowards, and the Mavs were already big.
5) Stern gets to pick Yao's replacement
Portland is maybe 1/10000000000 the size of LA's market. Add the fact Love is overhyped for his double double spree, and Nash is likely the favorite, I'm very doubtful Stern would actually pick LaMarcus Aldridge to replace Yao Ming. Rumor has it he's been wanting Paul Allen to move the Blazers to a bigger market (much like Seattle did), but PA doesn't want to move. We also see how many times we get star treatment with calls, and how we get help in the playoffs. Stern is the man that wants the money. LaMarcus doesn't make the pretty penny Nash and Love do.
4) Tim Duncan/Manu Ginobli get in for their records
I can't blame the NBA for wanting to credit the best team in the league by making their players all-stars. Problem is, Manu Ginobli arguably isn't better than Monta Ellis. It's a whole new LMA vs Griffin scenario. Do you give the team with the far better record the nod, or the higher stats player, horrible record the nod? The league went with the higher record. MEANWHILE, Duncan has been having career lows. Aldridge and Griffin are near neck and neck with stats, except in the team win column. Duncan makes it because he's a Hall of Famer, and on the best team. Griffin makes it because of stats. LaMarcus is right behind Griffin in stats, but his team is nearly in between the two teams. Spurs were at 40-8. Blazers 26-23. Clippers 19-29. The fact the NBA is contradicting themselves by giving a player that's performing below their averages the spot for the record, but then giving a person having a great rookie season the nod over a player having a very similar year, stat wise, but with 7 more wins is ridiculous.
3) Andre was Right
Andre, after the game, ranted
that Griffin doesn't make anyone better, and that the NBA isolates him from his team. Well, he's right. Griffin hasn't made improvements in Clipper land. First, people have been claiming LaMarcus hasn't been an All-Star because he hasn't been playing this good all season long. Then again, were the Clippers winning games? They were dead last in the standings at one point, and have a horrible road record. They were the second to last team to win on the road. Last season the Clippers, 48 games in, were at 20-28. They are now 19-29. So much for improvements from the big fella. Seems to me, the NBA just wants publicity. LaMarcus has been nearly dead even with Griffin, stat wise, but sadly he doesn't have the highlight reel. 2) The Improvement The league never seems to take in the fact that guys are improving, rather than just playing at a high level. LaMarcus has only been going uphill every month that goes by. Again, Duncan is having career lows. Nowitzki and Gasol aren't getting any better. LaMarcus has been working extra hard to bring the team the wins, and he doesn't get the nod. Shouldn't that, along with his numbers, be just enough to get the nod over a player having career lows, or the other that's creating trade rumors for their team? 1) He just flat our deserves it more
Call me biased. I just might be, but LaMarcus put this entire city on his back and has been leading them to playoff contention once again when everyone, even die hard Blazer fans, thought it was all over. He stepped up and is carrying this team on his back. No one else has been able to do that with their respective teams. Even the Spurs fell when they had injuries. Boston did too. The Lakers do it even when completely healthy. The Clippers have never been good when completely healthy. The Mavs have always choked and have come up short. Meanwhile, the Blazers have continued to impress when everything's been against them. And this season, it's been because of LaMarcus.