LaMarcus Aldridge 11th in SLAM’s Top 50 Players for 2014-15

LaMarcus Aldridge 11th in SLAM's Top 50 Players for 2014-15

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Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge was 11th in SLAM Magazine’s list of the Top 50 players for the 2014-15 NBA season.

According to SLAM Magazine, LaMarcus Aldridge is the 11th-best player in the NBA.  

Aldridge made it to the magazine’s Top 50 players for the 2014-15 NBA season. SLAM’s Nick Rotunno explains why:

“I suppose, when you think it’s over, it’s pretty easy to underestimate LaMarcus Aldridge, despite the stats and accolades he’s piled up throughout his eight-year pro career:

“The 29-year-old power forward plies his trade in Portland, OR, an unassuming little city wedged into the upper-left corner of the US, known more for its lattes and electric cars than its two professional sports franchises (one of which is a soccer team). He doesn’t make much noise off the court, and you won’t see him in a nationwide Nike or Subway commercial. Aldridge and the Trail Blazers, tend to fly under the national sports media’s radar.

“But don’t be deceived by this relative lack of hype. LA can flat-out get it done. One glance at the stat sheet is enough to prove he’s among the league’s top forwards.

“Last season, for instance, the former Texas Longhorn averaged 23.2 points, 11.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game (all career-highs). He shot nearly 46 percent from the floor, logged 40 double-doubles and represented the Western Conference in his third All-Star Game appearance. And, if you ask me, he did it all with a certain throwback style, part athleticism and quickness, part old-fashioned bulldogged post play.

“…In many respects, the pressures of this season largely fall on Aldridge’s broad shoulders. Entering his ninth year as a Trail Blazer, he has established himself as the team’s pre-eminent scoring threat. His rebounding is second to none on one of the best rebounding teams in the league, and defensively he is a disruptive force.”

Aldridge told The Oregonian’s Joe Freeman he is focused on the Blazers’ upcoming 2014-15 campaign and not free agency. Aldridge will become an unrestricted free agent after this season:

“I finally had an opportunity to quiz LaMarcus Aldridge about the NBA’s new mega television contract and its implications on the league and his impending free agency.

“After the Trail Blazers’ Tuesday night preseason loss to the Utah Jazz, I snuck in a question or two about the situation, knowing fully well he had time to dissect the news and contemplate its impact (he declined comment on Monday, when the NBA announced the new contract, saying he hadn’t studied the details). 

“Aldridge refused to go into great detail on the issue, saying he was ‘focused on the season’ and not his free agency. But, when I told him I get asked about it relentlessly from Blazers fans because it’s one of the biggest issues facing the future of the franchise, he expounded briefly. 

“‘Of course it changes numbers and flucutates deals,’ Aldridge said. ‘But I haven’t got into thoughts about that. I just read up on it so I can be informed about the current NBA state and know what it is out there.’

“And what are his thoughts on the deal overall?

“‘It’s good for the league,’ he said. ‘It’s good for owners and teams and players. It’s good for everybody. I just hope that as a unit, as a whole, players, owners and coaches and everybody, we just keep the game going in the right direction. I think we’ve definitely recovered from that black eye way back with the (2004 fight in) Indiana…and now that the NBA is back and as popular as ever, guys are going to take good care of the brand again.’

“Back to how the new lucrative TV deal affects Aldridge’s future with the Blazers — it probably won’t. As I noted earlier this week, he and everyone else in the league knew it was on the horizon, and if Aldridge truly wanted to capitalize, he could have signed a one-year extension last summer that featured a player option after one year. That would have allowed him to hit free agency in 2016-17, when the new $24 billion, nine-year deal begins.

“As it stands, assuming Aldridge signs a maximum contract extension with the Blazers next summer, his annual salary will pencil in at 30 percent of the Blazers’ cap, wherever it stands when he signs the deal. Then he would receive 7.5 percent annual increases for the length of his contract.

“Anything can happen between now and this summer. But Aldridge said he wanted to retire in Portland. He said he wanted to be the ‘best Blazer ever.'”

Aldridge has averaged 18.9 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 577 regular-season games with the Blazers, per ESPN stats

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