Big-L, little-a, Marcus

October 2, 2008

I feel like this should be an open letter to the rest of the Association.

See, while everyone (including Portland Trailblazer’s hype machinists) is so focused on the continued ascension of BRoy, the debut of Gregor Oden, the arrival of Rudy F. Baby and Jerryd Bayless, I can’t help but feel like that Longhorn alum, Texas native, and 2006 Big 12 Defensive player of the year, LaMarcus Aldridge gets lost in the hustle and bustle.

Make no mistake, Portland fans appreciate this man. We appreciate the crap out of him, because for about 8 years we watched, loved… tolerated Rasheed Wallace. He was an All-Star for us. He led us to a Western Conference Finals, and within 1 quarter of the NBA Finals and ultimately an NBA Championship. Most of us really didn’t even care that he accumulated Technical Fouls at a clip that would make Dennis Rodman blush. Little-a, is our Rasheed Wallace redux. Only this time we get a star that has all the tools to be an All-Star sans the baggage. And LA’s numbers in his second year are already better than Sheed’s in either of his 2x All-Star years here in Portland.

Everyone who has been around Aldridge recognizes his work ethic and determination to improve. His college coach Rick Barnes noted that he’s never seen a player work so hard to becoming better. (*Side note: LaMarcus Aldrige is probably the first athlete from UT at Austin to work hard… it is a resort there, and I think sports stars weren’t meant to apply themselves extracurricularly) And it clearly worked, he went from a season ending injury as a freshman to leading the ‘Horns to the Elite Eight the following year, a spot as a 3rd team All-American, and the aforementioned Conference Defensive Player of the Year. His roll hasn’t slowed since joining the pro ranks. My boy on the inside with the Blazers expects LA to have a Monster year. He’s been a beast in the offseason every year, and is determined to help his team win, but also to joining his teammates with some acclaim on the national level.

I don’t doubt that he will continue to improve on his numbers. From season 1 to season 2, his stats received significant increases: points +8.8, assists +1.2, rebounds +2.6, and almost a half a steal more per game. The presence of a dominant Oden in the pivot only serves to improve LA’s opportunities, and Little-a says he stretched out his range to the arch, so you can expect him to not only increase his % numbers, but to help open up the middle for Oden as much as Oden will sink defenses to free up LA.

Little-a was already a horse. Brought an all-around game that arguably made him the most valuable Blazer. He could very well have rested on his laurels. Many professionals do. What many pro’s don’t do is be this good and this versatile this early, many don’t go out and get better every day. So while one might say that Blaze Nation has too many young talented players, what we also have is a consistent, reliable, and quiet rising star.

Take notice everyone. LaMarcus Aldrige is rolling, he’s going to bring his team and whole Upper Left Coast with him, and he doesn’t look like he’s slowing down.

p.s. Ask Sean Williams how he feels about trying to stop LA.

4 Responses to “Big-L, little-a, Marcus”

  1. Pete said

    Why is Shaun Livingston’s picture up for this article?

    LaMarcus is solid, but he’ll never be a star. He could fill that Buck Williams role nicely for the new Rip City club though. Hopefully Oden doesn’t gain a couple hundred more pounds like Duckworth though (RIP by the way).

  2. ruggedly said

    Clearly it’s because I’m a moron… OR maybe it’s because the Blazers are one of 3 teams that Livingston is rumored to be headed to.

  3. Pete said

    Uh, quite spreading old news. The Blazers clearly said no to Livingston a few days ago. Thanks for changing the pic though.

  4. [...] now that I know all of the offseason hype was for nothing.  I mean, now that I know Brandon and Little-a are busts this year and won’t get any better than they were on Tuesday night, let’s [...]

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