Imagine how good the Chicago Bulls would be now if they had a young power forward like LaMarcus Aldridge on the team.
They actually had their chance, they drafted him but traded LaMarcus Aldridge away.
For Portland to move up in the draft to get him, they sent Viktor Khryapa and the draft rights to Tyrus Thomas to Chicago for Aldridge and a second-round draft pick.
It certainly worked for Portland, while the Bulls endured a lot of inconsistency from Tyrus Thomas before trading him to Charlotte.
Before he was drafted, LaMarcus Aldridge spent two seasons at Texas dominating college basketball. There was a lot of hype about him, which his play justified, and he was talked about as being the “Next Chris Bosh” and compared to many other athletic power forwards of the NBA.
In his first season at Texas, Aldridge scored 9.9 points at 66.3% from the field. He also averaged 5.9 boards per game. In his second, and final, year of college basketball he lifted his scoring and rebounding per game numbers.
He faced double-teams, even triple-teams, but scored 15 points a game. He went close to averaging a double-double, his rebounding numbers were 9.2 per game.
When he arrived at Portland, Aldridge was 6-11 and 240 pounds. They were not sure if he was a center or a power forward. He was really a power forward but they already had Zach Randolph there. LaMarcus Aldridge played 22 minutes per game during his rookie season, shooting 50% from the field for 9 points per game.
The next year it was like the team was under new management, called Roy and Aldridge.
With Aldridge starting 76 games, and averaging 35 minutes of playing time, his numbers jumped to around 18 points and 8 rebounds. Aldridge replicated those numbers in 2008-09 and 2009-2010.
Aldridge has been lucky to stay healthy most of the time. Nearly every other big-man on the Portland roster has been hit by a severe injury, often several times. Greg Oden, Joel Przybilla, Marcus Camby, they have all been out for extended time while Aldridge has been playing.
This has often led to Aldridge playing more center minutes than Portland would like.
He is still a young player who can improve more. With Roy out of action for a lot of season 2011, Aldridge has gone over 20 points per game. On jump shots, post moves and dunks he is hitting at 50% from the field.
Aldridge has also lifted in other stats, he is good for a steal and a block per game and his rebounding numbers are getting close to 10 per game.
Portland are still wondering how good the team would be if everyone was healthy. Andre Miller at point guard, Brandon Roy at shooting guard, Gerald Wallace playing small forward, Aldridge at power forward and Greg Oden in the middle at center.
It would be a young team with a lot of size and ability. The bench of Nicolas Batum, Marcus Camby, Wesley Matthews and Rudy Fernandez would be a key part of the team too.