LaMarcus Aldridge Is Done With Playing Robin, Ready To Become Batman
By DHawes22 Posted in: Blazers, LaMarcusAldridge
Trail Blazers power forward, LaMarcus Aldridge
took some time out today and answered a few questions on air from Jim Rome. LA talks about Portland's hot start to the 2011-12 season, whether it will last, what the addition of Jamal Crawford meant to the Trail Blazers, the absence of Brandon Roy, taking his game to the next level, taking on the role of 'Batman', his heart procedure, playing for Team USA, hiring a nutritionist, his thoughts on being an All-Star, and being more vocal as a leader this season.
Click here to listen to the entire radio interview
Listed below are the highlights of LaMarcus' interview-
Jim Rome: "Are you at all surprised by where that team is right now?"
LaMarcus Aldridge: "No, because I believe we have a bunch of good pieces. I feel like we actually got better this summer by bringing in Jamal Crawford, bringing in Kurt Thomas, and Craig Smith. I feel like we got actually better than last year. I've never been on a team with this type of chemistry where there are no guys mad about playing time, there are no guys mad about coming off the bench. I think everybody just wants to win."
Rome: "You guys are playing really well right now. Let me ask you this, are you hot or are you this good? Do you feel like this is a team that is going to be this good throughout the year and you can be a top two, top three team in the conference?"
Aldridge: "Yes, I feel like we are this good and we're going to get a lot better. You know we had a quick training camp, I missed training camp. But I think we're going to get better. I think defensively we've been better some nights but I think when we get better defensively every night, we're definitely going to a top two team in the West."
Rome: "You lead the team in scoring this year. You took your game to another level LAST year. Do you think you've finally arrived? OR do you feel like you have to prove yourself and that your still not maybe getting the respect you've earned?"
Aldridge: "I think I still have to keep proving things. I don't think some people see me as a go-to-guy every night. I think teams that play against me a number times, they feel differently. But I still think that its people who doubt that I can lead a team or I can be that go-to-guy, so I'm still trying to prove that to people."
Rome: "What's going on with that? Do you feel like you don't get the opportunities from your own team or do you feel like they just see you for a certain way for a certain reason. I mean, what's going on there?"
Aldridge: "I think that because of my first four years of being Robin to Batman with Brandon being our main guy. I think people just saw me in that Robin role and never saw me as Batman. It takes time to really shed that light that I can transform from Robin to Batman and I'm definitely getting the opportunities from my team. I think Coach Nate and all my teammates definitely look for me, a lot."
Rome: "Do you want to be Batman? Do you feel like you are Batman right now and deserve that status?"
Aldridge: "I'm definitely Batman right now [laughs]. I think that the team looks to me and I think they believe in me. I try to bring it every night."
Rome: "It seems like you and I talk about this every time you come on but you still haven't made that All-Star Game Batman! Is this the year?"
Aldridge: "I thought last year was the year. So if I would have made it last year, I would be like 'definitely I'd be in it this year.' But, I think last year opened my eyes to some things that its not just about your record and things like that. I think its more politics in to it, but you know 'people say I should be in it this year', but after last year I can't be certain."
Rome: "If you're invited to the camp [Team USA], what would that mean to you?"
Aldridge: "A big honor. I definitely want to do some things with them the last three years and they've talked to me about joining the team last time but I had some family issues that I had to handle so this time everything is perfect. It's going to be a really, really big honor to join that team."
Rome: "LaMarcus, actually one last thought. If you're going to be Batman, it's one thing to score the ball like Batman but there's other responsibilities that come along with that. You know that. You've got to be a vocal leader and lead front the front. Are you trying to embrace that role and even improve there?"
Aldridge: "I've definitely worked on that. I'm probably a quiet person by nature, but I've definitely worked on talking more and being more vocal. I think my teammates would agree that this year that I've started out this season with more talk and try to emphasize defense more and when the moments aren't going great, I try to be more vocal now. Your right, that's a big part of being Batman."
Arguably one of LaMarcus' best interviews. If you ever had doubt in him as a vocal leader or not wanting to be the go-to-guy...just listen to his answers. I truly believe Aldridge is ready to shed all of the misconceptions about him: He's too soft. He can't be "The Man". He's too quiet. He's not nasty enough on the court. Shattered. LA proved he was among the NBA's elite during the second half of last season when he was named the Western Conference Player of the Month for February. And along with the skills of being a definite No. 1 option on a Northwest power, Aldridge has now assumed and embraced the role of vocal leader. We've seen him on the court recently yell out defensive assignments and what he wants to see out of his teammates. Of course, he won't become the next KG (in terms of defensive leader) over night, but the progress is being made and the fact he has a chip on his shoulder from all of the doubters just gives him that much more motivation to prove them all wrong. And as long as the L-Train continues gain momentum down the tracks, the Trail Blazers are headed in the right direction.
But can we please get this man in to the All-Star Game? He's sixth right now after the first ballot returns. I know we can do better than that, Rip City! Vote LA to Orlando!