Roland Tran's Blog


Feb 12

LA has arrived! What's next...

By Roland Posted in: Blazers, LaMarcusAldridge, Pistons
First and foremost, a close victory over Toronto isn't much to boast about or prognosticate a long string of consecutive victories. The next one over Detroit will hold a bit more credence - the Pistons are 0.500 at home (the best record from an opponent on this road trip).

Alright on to LA. There were definitely ppl and Blazer fans who proclaimed LaMarcus Aldridge as 'soft'. Here were some of the monikers going around: 'LaMarshamellow', 'Lil Sheed' 'a low rent Rasheed Wallace (Lamarcus own omission where he talks about the importance of work w/ Bayno over the summer). Up till this point the haters were right. LaMarcus would defer too many times to Brandon and when push came to shove (that is from opposing players), he would settle for the pick and pop game (opinions also shared by team president Larry Miller on courtside TV). Charles Barkeley joked on LA, "When I think of Lamarcus Aldridge, I think dribble, dribble, dribble, fade-away." While this was true in the past, it is no longer true of the LA since Roy's injury. Those that once proclaimed Aldridge as 'soft' need to man up and admit in doing so, there is no shame. In certain scenarios, the cover up is worse than the crime; this being one of them. Remaining steadfast to one's stance would be more honorable: LA was soft, since Broy's injury he no longer is! That simple.

With that being said, there are some concerns to address. First, if not obvious, is why did it take Brandon's injury for LA to be playing or even showcasing his current style (down in the low post with power). Had LA been playing this way the whole season there is no doubt in my mind that the league would have sent LA to L.A (but that's another issue). Lamarcus had worked all summer adding muscle and developing a low post power game w/ Bill Bayno; come the start of the season this part of his game remains dormant until Roy's injury (leaving this Blazer fan's mind in oblivion). Is it his makeup to defer? Is Brandon overbearing? Nate not calling the plays? Who knows? Certainly not me (I'd like some input here). 

My second concern is with the immutable or slow personal development of our young core players - BRoy and LA (although he took big strides). The optimum word being immutable which is non changing. I'd like to preface this section w/recalling the work Kobe Bryant did w/ Hakeem Olajuwon few summers back to improve his post game and foot work. It was obvious that the Lakers were not going to run the triangle w/ Kobe from the post position but it was more of a move to add a dimension to his game so that the Lakers would have yet another option on offense. I 've yet to see Brandon learn to play as a slasher/cutter, a guy who runs off screens (Rip Hamilton like game), a fast break player, a deadly shooter, a low post threat (more this yr). The same can be said of LA regarding face up dribble finesse game (Bosh), power game like Z-Bo (although more this yr), or a fast-power game like Amare. LA is still relegated to a back to the basket (although he is doing more power this yr) and pick/pop pf. I know this much to ask but hey, these guys are our cornerstone making the max salaries. 

I guess my frustration is more w/ Brandon than w/ LA. While some may argue that Brandon may not have the mental fortitude of Kobe (which is why we do see the development); there has to be someone, Blazer brass, telling him he needs to work on these other elements of his game. When LA or Andre Miller has it going (meaning the ball is not in Roy's hands) Brandon has got to find another way to be effective doing the things mentioned in the previous paragraph. Once and if (due to his injury) Brandon has it going on then he can get back to the iso, break ur man down game we've all gotten accustomed to watching. 

Last, this is just my opinion. I may be right, I may be wrong (if I am wrong please elaborate as to why) - I dunno but I do care. Unfortunately the Blazer brass - they're not afforded the same luxury. They have to be right simple as that. Rich Cho so far has been wrong in my opinion (Bayless deal). 


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