HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — LaMarcus Aldridge is at it again.
Drifting from the basket, failing to get into the low post and settling for jumpers.
Two years ago, Aldridge transformed his game by getting into the paint a lot more than he did in his first four seasons in the league. The transformation helped him become an All-Star last season. But now, he’s gone jumper-happy again, and the issue is much more pronounced than it ever was.
|LaMarcus Aldridge’s shooting, career|
%FGAP = % of total FGA taken from the paint
It’s simple math. Aldridge has made 58.3 percent of his shots from the paint over his career, and he’s made 41.8 percent of his shots from between the paint and the 3-point line (a far cry from Dirk Nowitzki, who’s a career 46.8 percent shooter from mid-range).
Right now, Aldridge is shooting a paltry 43 percent overall and he’s gone to the free-throw line just 12 times in five games. It’s early, but he’s having the worst season of his career, and you can easily point to his shot selection as the reason why.
Jason Quick of The Oregonian sees the problem. But apparently, neither Aldridge nor Blazers coach Terry Stotts does, as Quick writes in Friday’s paper…
I’m not against Aldridge shooting jump shots. He is a terrific outside shooter. But long-range jump shots shouldn’t be his bread-and-butter.
In a salty postgame interview Thursday after 7-for-17 shooting night, Aldridge said he doesn’t believe he is shooting too many jumpers.
“I don’t,” Aldridge said. “Obviously you do, you asked the question.”
And coach Terry Stotts, at least publicly, is saying Aldridge’s shot selection is not of concern.
But the numbers don’t lie.
Read the entire article, because it’s right on point. Aldridge gets even testier with his responses to Quick and Stotts seems to brush the issue off as a result of what other teams are doing defensively.
The Blazers are going to be a bad defensive team this season. That’s a given already. They rank 27th defensively through Thursday, allowing 107.4 points per 100 possessions. They fell off a cliff on that end of the floor when they got rid of Gerald Wallace and Nate McMillan. And all you really need to know about their defense is that they start J.J. Hickson at center.
But with Damian Lillard, Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum, Aldridge and Hickson, they can be a pretty good offensive team and, therefore, stay somewhat competitive in the Western Conference.
Right now, Portland ranks 16th offensively, scoring just 99.7 points per 100 possessions, which is below the league average. They’ve attempted just 41 percent of their shots from the paint, the third-lowest rate in the league.
Over the years, there hasn’t been a correlation between the percentage of shots a team takes from the paint and its offensive efficiency. But it’s clear that the Blazers need Aldridge to get in the low post and get to the line. If he continues to float around the perimeter, they’re going to struggle on both ends of the floor, and it could be a very ugly season in Portland.