Aldridge Wants To Deliver In The Clutch

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY BUREAU – Where do the Portland Trail Blazers stand in the Western Conference hierarchy this season? Brandon Roy has retired, but the Blazers still have a pretty strong rotation that goes at least nine deep, and maybe more if their young guards can prove themselves.

And in the end, they’ll go as far as LaMarcus Aldridge can taken them.

Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune asks some key questions surrounding the Blazers, and he puts Aldridge’s ability to close games at the top of the list…

The Closer, Roy, has retired. Few players in franchise history have come through in the clutch more often than Roy, whose chronic knee problems forced him to have played his final game at age 26.

Step up, LaMarcus Aldridge.

“I need to be that guy for us,” Portland’s 6-11 forward says.

After playing with a tight collar late in games through his first four seasons, Aldridge looked more comfortable in the fourth quarter last season. He’ll be the go-to guy with the game on the line.

The Blazers had the 11th-most efficient offense last season and the 13th-most efficient offense in clutch time (last five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime with a score differential — either way — of five points or less).

When it comes to taking an important shot, Aldridge was already the Blazers’ go-to guy. In fact, only seven players in the league attempted more clutch time field goals than Aldridge did.

Most clutch time FGA, 2010-11

Player FGM FGA FG% 3PM 3PA 3PT% FTM FTA FT% AST TO PTS
Russell Westbrook 59 150 39.3% 6 17 35.3% 75 94 79.8% 35 17 199
Kevin Durant 54 132 40.9% 9 31 29.0% 77 92 83.7% 10 12 194
Derrick Rose 51 127 40.2% 3 15 20.0% 61 68 89.7% 34 24 166
Kobe Bryant 51 126 40.5% 13 37 35.1% 48 55 87.3% 25 18 163
Monta Ellis 46 95 48.4% 10 23 43.5% 41 50 82.0% 13 10 143
Al Jefferson 50 89 56.2% 0 0 24 29 82.8% 5 7 124
Zach Randolph 39 86 45.3% 0 1 .0% 43 55 78.2% 3 4 121
LaMarcus Aldridge 37 84 44.0% 0 4 .0% 33 53 62.3% 13 6 107
Jason Richardson 36 84 42.9% 18 49 36.7% 17 25 68.0% 4 6 107
Carmelo Anthony 37 84 44.0% 3 9 33.3% 34 41 82.9% 4 15 111

Aldridge’s usage rate (percentage of team’s possessions used while he’s on the floor) was higher in clutch time (27.0 percent) than it was overall (23.8 percent). But Andre Miller actually led the Blazers in clutch time usage rate, attempting 65 shots and dishing out 32 assists. With Miller being swapped for Raymond Felton, perhaps the Portland offense will run more through Aldridge.

The one thing Aldridge will need to do better is shoot free throws when the game is on the line. His free throw rate was much higher in clutch time (which is a good thing), but 62.3 percent from the line isn’t going to cut it.

6 Comments

  1. mattman says:

    The Blazers need LA to be their next star and frankly I think he has been ready for the spotlight…after being looked over during last year’s all-star voting he will make the all-star team this year and lead the trailblazers to another playoff birth..LA has an excellent mid range jump shot, some good moves in the post, is active on defense, and is a leader by example..look for another breakout year from him this season mindofmattman.blogspot.com

  2. g chaffee says:

    don t forget crawford best he be in the game to even get off the shot

  3. Jackson says:

    He sure was clutch last night against the jazz…wait

  4. Noah says:

    Roy was awesome! but I’m glad we have someone who can take his place as our closer! Aldridge is a very talented big man for us! and I think his leadership and talent will take us very far this season!

  5. B-ROY!! #7always and forever says:

    GO BLAZERS ;)

  6. B-ROY!! #7always and forever says:

    ima miss roy =( but i think aldridge can take over some of the points roy gave us…. hes a great player and shouldve been a allstar last year!!!!!!!! cant wait til the season starts =) GO BLAZERS!!!!!!!!!! #12 AND #7<3<3<3<3<3<3