Trail Blazers power forward, LaMarcus Aldridge
took some time out today and answered a few questions on air from Scott Van Pelt. LA talks about the status of his ankle, when we could see him on the court next, playing the young guys more, what it means to be an All-Star, what the team needs to tighten up on before spring, and his endorsement of Elliot Williams for future Slam Dunk Contests.
Click here to listen to the entire radio interview
Listed below is the entire transcript of LaMarcus Aldridge's interview with Scott Van Pelt
Scott Van Pelt: "I understand that maybe you're going to test it out at practice and see if you can go tomorrow against Atlanta. What can you tell us?"
LaMarcus Aldridge: "Yeah, I was already out there. It's feeling good so far. I'm going to do some running, some more cutting on it and hopefully everything goes well."
SVP: "When you rolled your ankle, did you instantly know this isn't great?"
Aldridge: "Yeah, I felt like when I did it, I thought I broke something. It rolled over so hard and I came down on his foot so I was like 'Wow, this is a lot of pain.' I was actually a little worried about it but the X-Rays came back fine and I'm feeling great now so obviously it wasn't that serious."
SVP: "You guys just played three in three nights. I know you're not out there in the last couple, but yesterday you got a lead in the second half, but three in three nights. It seems like its taking such a toll on people. How are you guys dealing with that?"
Aldridge: "Yeah, I think we definitely had an opportunity to win that game but injuries played a part. I think Gerald Wallace got tired. Guys just ran out of gas last night, but its tough. I feel like Coach [McMillan] wants to put his main guys out there but, again, its three games in three nights and you have to try to trust your young guys more and I felt like our young guys played good for us last night but we just ran out of gas last night."
SVP: "What does it mean to you to be part of that group [All-Star team]?"
Aldridge: "It means a lot. I've definitely worked on my game, trying to get better every year. I definitely felt like I should have been in the game last year so I wanted to come back this year even stronger to prove that point. A true blessing, and something I've worked really hard for."
SVP: "Can you allow yourself in the middle of it when you get down there to just let yourself look around and realize, 'I'm not here watching, I'm in it!'? Can you allow yourself that moment of appreciation and almost let yourself be that little kid to look around the room like, "I can't believe I'm here?'"
Aldridge: "That's hard to say. I think I will try, but knowing me I will try to stay focused and focus on the game."
SVP: "ITS THE ALL-STAR GAME, MAN! Come on, you don't have to focus, just enjoy it!"
Aldridge: "I'm always trying to get better, so I feel like after the season I always look back and be like, 'Man, that was a really good stretch. Or really, I was in the All-Star Game!' But my mom is going to be there so I'm pretty sure she's going to point that out for me."
SVP: "You know what, let her be proud. You should feel proud yourself, man. That's a crowded group out West. To be able to crash that party, that's one goal. Obviously, the team has other goals. You guys got out to a quick start. This year is going to take its toll on everybody, whether its injuries or these stretches we're talking about. In what ways do you guys need to get tightened between now and this spring?"
Aldridge: "Just more sharp. I feel like we haven't really shot the ball well up until this point. We've had games on and off where we've shot the ball well, but I think we have got to get more sharp offensively and defensively. We have to get more closer, better chemistry on the court and I feel like once these things happen for us we're going to take off. But until we connect to that level and we start shooting the ball better, we're going to keep losing these close games."
SVP: "I want to close with this. I had an idea and I'm just curious what you think of it. The dunk contest, they can't get the best players to do it. I'm not just trying to disrespect the guys who are in it. But I have this idea. You go American Idol style. You have tryouts for people who that are unknowns all around the country. The best of the best get to come. [Aldridge laughs] Think about it? Tell me you guys wouldn't be interested to see what some guy no one has ever seen could do. I think the pros would turn out to watch just to see what they could do. Would you be interested in seeing what that would look like?"
Aldridge: "I would. I definitely know some guys back home that didn't make it into the NBA, but they can definitely jump high and do some crazy things, so I would definitely show up for that. I think that it would be interesting. I feel like one of my teammates should be in the dunk contest, Elliot Williams, the rookie, second-year rookie. He jumps out of the gym. He puts his head by the rim. He's a pretty athletic guy. I feel like he should be in that talk of guys that are going to be in that."
SVP: "I'm going to jot that down. I know him. I saw him do his thing at Duke and at Memphis, so I'm going to jot that down. And when he's on SportsCenter and does something crazy, I'll scream and hoot and holler so that maybe he gets a shot next year and gets a look in the dunk contest. It's your time to shine this year in the All-Star game. Congratulations. Hope the ankle gets well and best of luck the rest of the way."
Aldridge: "Thanks for having me."
If LaMarcus' interview earlier this year with Jim Rome was one of the best I've heard from him, where he stated he was "ready to become Batman
" then this one is right up there. The team hasn't been playing as well as many thought and he agrees. Frankly, he didn't sugarcoat a thing when he said that if they don't start gelling out there on the hardwood and knocking down shots that the team will continue to lose games. It's interesting to hear that the on-court chemistry is the main issue in his eyes outside of not hitting shots, especially considering how close they are off the court. Could that be a product of having five new players on the roster, six if you count Elliot who didn't play at all last year? With practice time at a minimum, that's a valid point.
To me, the most important part of that interview was Aldridge discussing last night's game. He said that Coach Nate likes to play his core guys on the floor, a lot, and that in essence, it could be wearing them down as we saw how tired they looked at the end of last night's game against the Clippers. Whether it's been on the message boards
, or Twitter
, Rip City seems share LA's sentiment and would like to see more from the Rhino, Elliot Williams, Nolan Smith, and even Chris Johnson. But as we all know, there's only 48 minutes of basketball per game and only five guys at a time can play on the court (except for the famous six-player incident against the Celtics back in December of 2008).
And finally, I love how as soon as Van Pelt mentioned the dunk contest, Elliot Williams was on the tip of his tongue. We all have seen E-Will's bounce this year as evidence by his two-hand standing slam against the Clippers and the between-the-legs throw-down at the Fan Fest. It didn't happen this year, but the Elliot Williams for 2013 Slam Dunk Contest campaign starts now. Let's make it happen, Rip City!