HANG TIME SOUTHWEST — Can we please finally put to rest this lingering and nonsensical talk that LaMarcus Aldridge is not a worthy All-Star? What planet are you living on anyway?
Yeah, so, the Portland Trail Blazers power forward’s shooting percentage has been down this season from the lofty 50 percent mark of the last three seasons, but even that excuse is flimsy. After Tuesday’s heroics in a 106-104 comeback win over the Dallas Mavericks in which Aldridge buried his first 3-pointer of the season with 4.9 seconds left to tie and then canned a turnaround jumper on a play that started with 1.5 seconds to go to win it, capping a 12-for-20 shooting night for 29 points, Aldridge’s rising shooting percentage is now up to 47.3 percent.
Yes, it is still a career-low and he’s a lousy 1-for-10 from beyond the arc. You haters just won’t stop.
That shooting percentage puts him just outside the top 20 among all forwards, yet his 20.7 scoring average is tops among power forwards, unless you consider Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James to be power forwards. It’s a full point higher than Golden State All-Star representative David Lee, yet a full point lower than when Aldridge was unjustly left off the 2011 All-Star team.
Maybe Aldridge’s 8.9 rpg, good for eighth among all forwards and a mark that will be a career-best if he maintains it, is what should keep him off the All-Star team. So he’s not one of two forwards — Lee and Zach Randolph — currently averaging a double-double. Fine, toss his All-Star credentials.
At 38.1 mpg, maybe the 6-foot-11 Aldridge just isn’t logging enough heavy minutes. After all, Durant, Luol Deng, LeBron and even Aldridge’s own teammate Nicolas Batum average at least a half-minute more per game. What a slouch.
So what to make of games like Tuesday night when Aldridge played 42 minutes, scored 29 points — including five points on two huge shots in the final five seconds — grabbed 13 rebounds, four offensive boards, dished out three assists, made a steal and blocked two shots?
“We needed those two shots,” Batum said. “They show people that he really is an All-Star. He is an All-Star. He’s a go-to guy.”
He really, really is.