But how many guys, especially those with only one year of college experience, make the All-Star team in their second season? Outside of the LeBron's of the world, not many. But according to SI.com's Ian Thomsen, there are five reason why LaMarcus will be an All-Star by 2010. They are as follows (these are just snippets, click the link to read the totality of the article):
5. He's the second coming of Rasheed Wallace. Though the 6-foot-11 Aldridge is averaging a prodigious 17.9 points and 7.5 rebounds as a 22-year-old NBA sophomore with Portland, his future became sharply focused when he was matched up against former Trail Blazer Wallace in November. "We have the same turnaround shot, the same high release, we both can spread the defense,'' Aldridge said. "We do the same moves. When he played here he did a move, and back to back I did the same exact move.''
There's no shortage of people who already claim that LaMarcus Aldridge is like Rasheed Wallace without the crazy. That characterization might be a little unfair for both players, but it's more correct than not.
4. Hard work. When he learned while watching the NBA draft last June that the Blazers had traded power forward Zach Randolph to the Knicks to clear the starting spot for him, Aldridge headed to his high school gym in Texas for a midnight workout. "I stayed for about an hour, just got up shots,'' Aldridge said. "It was like a motivational workout, saying that I have opportunities now and I have to be ready for it.''
LaMarcus is always putting in work. I've never been to a practice when he wasn't one of the last guys to leave the court.
3. Speed. "We have a bunch of hard workers on this team,'' said small forward James Jones, who at 27 passes for an elder on what is the league's youngest team. "But for your big guy to be the hardest worker and probably your fastest guy ...''
A 6-11 power forward is the fastest player on the team? "I would say yeah,'' Jones said. "Pound for pound, he's the most athletic guy on this team, and to be 7 feet and to be as fast as he is and as well-conditioned as he is, you don't find that very often.''
There's no doubt that the L-Train can move. He's one of those bounders.
2. His relationship with McMillan. "Each of our coaches is assigned about three players for individual work,'' McMillan said. "After games they go into the film room with the coaches, and we talk about the things that they're not doing. We had to learn how to play, so we went into the film room and now our basketball IQ is higher.''
So which coach has been assigned to deal with Aldridge?
"Me,'' McMillan said, and he winked.
This is something that I was unaware of. I know the players work with assistant coaches after the organized part of practice is over, but I was ignorant to the one-one-one coaching that McMillan is putting in with Roy and Aldridge. You learn something new everyday.
1. The Twin Towers. "We'll try to be like David Robinson and Tim Duncan,'' Aldridge said of his awaited partnership with Oden. "That's what we wish for.''
Do they talk in those terms? "Not yet,'' Aldridge said. "Because he's not playing right now, so its hard.''
I think that's what we all wish for. Personally, I think they've got a chance to collectively be better than The Admiral and the Big Fundamental. When Robinson and Duncan hooked up, Robinson was already moving toward the end of his career. With any luck, Aldridge and Oden will be playing off each other for their whole careers.