Is LaMarcus Aldridge Hurting the Spurs?
The Memphis Grizzlies and the San Antonio Spurs are currently tied 2-2 in their first round series. What may have been deemed early on as a boring series has gotten some life and has been one of the more entertaining series these playoffs. Kawhi Leonard (Spurs) has entered elite status as he has played like a superstar, while Mike Conley (Grizzlies) has looked like he’s earned his massive contract.
As of right now, the series can go either way as the Grizzlies stars have played well. Marc Gasol is playing solid and Vince Carter has provided some scoring even at 40 years old. Spurs are getting all they can from Kawhi Leonard and even have some help from Tony Parker, but there is a man that was signed to help usher in a new era with Leonard and he’s nowhere to be found so far. That man is LaMarcus Aldridge.
LaMarcus Aldridge, typically, is a 20 point per game scorer and the Spurs signed him hoping he would be a nice compliment to Leonard, but he has not looked like that so far. Aldridge has had virtually no impact for the Spurs and if you think I am exaggerating let’s look at his stats for the first four games.
In Game 1 (his best game); Aldridge dropped a solid 20 points and 6 rebounds. Unfortunately, it never got better from there. In Game 2, Aldridge had 11 points and four rebounds. In Game 3, he had 16 points and 11 rebounds, which is pretty solid. In Game 4, he had 13 points and 2 rebounds. No, 2 rebounds is not a typo.
I’m pretty sure that the San Antonio Spurs didn’t pay him 80 million dollars to put up those pedestrian numbers. The most shocking thing is that he’s played high minutes. In Game 4 Aldridge grabbed two rebounds in 42 minutes of action. He also played 42 minutes in Game 2, but at least in that game he doubled his rebounds with a whooping four.
To answer the initial question, Aldridge is not making an impact and his play is hurting the Spurs chances of advancing. The Grizzlies have a real shot to knock off the 60+ win Spurs and if they lose, Aldridge would be a huge reason why. Kawhi Leonard is putting up 32.5 points per game and 6.5 rebounds per game (which is higher than Aldridge’s). He’s shooting an astounding 58 percent from the field and is doing all he can, but he is not getting help. Aldridge is already a defensive liability and that hurts the Spurs during crunch time.
Now some can argue that Aldridge isn’t getting enough shot attempts as he is shooting 49 percent from the field, but to play 42 minutes and only grab two rebounds, it’s detrimental to the team anyway you spin it. Aldridge is having no impact and one would believe that Kawhi Leonard won’t keep up that efficient level of production forever. Even if the Spurs make it past the Grizzlies, they are going to have problems as competition gets tougher.
LaMarcus Aldridge is going to have to play better if the Spurs are going to beat the Grizzlies. Maybe the Spurs will get him going in their next game, but he is going to have to get going, but it's up to him to rebound the ball.
The Spurs next game is on 4/25 at 9PM EST. Let’s see if LaMarcus Aldridge has any impact on the outcome of that game.