Portland Loves Them Some LaMarcus Aldridge

I've been kicking it down in Portland, and learned that, as with every city that's had an NBA franchise in the past four years, the name Amare Stoudemire comes up a lot here. As promised, I'm not really going to bother with the specific trade rumors; let's just say that pretty much every one of them involves giving up LaMarcus Aldridge. And that's where some hyper-funny local media, homer craziness kicks in. ↵
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↵First, to establish some basketball credibility for myself, I want to be on the record as stating that Amare wouldn't fit in Portland's offense. The team is half-court beyond half-court, they have no point guard to feed the beast (though Amare is a super-efficient scorer), or run the pick and roll with him. Brandon Roy is the league's most inconspicuous ballhog, and if you have Amare, you should want him to get his. Plus, Nate McMillian has a little bit of Larry Brown in him, making him the worst possible coach for STAT. The esteemed Dwight Jaynes comes to a similar conclusion. ↵
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↵But among more than a few fans, and less adequate media figures (Comcast, I love your programming here!), there's a sense -- hard, fast, and sacrosanct -- that losing Aldridge would destroy everything this team and city stand for, and that Amare could barely hold LaMarcus's headphones. I even heard one reporter say on the excellent "Talkin' Ball" program that "you don't trade the number two pick for Amare Stoudemire," as if Aldridge's draft status, and its relative value to recent team history, were somehow more precious than gold. ↵

↵Look, I get liking the mild-mannered guy who is maturing as one of the Blazers' own. And I know this team's personality is mad low-key. But Portland, I implore thee: Fire up the YouTube and watch Amare from last season. He was unstoppable offensively, efficient as heck, and able to do all that Aldridge does but scarier, faster, and more decisively. And while he's a terrible on-ball and team defender, he can come up with huge, momentum-altering blocks and rebounds when he remembers to. ↵
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↵It's one thing to question a player's character, or wonder how he'd affect a team's very distinct locker room vibe. However, when you start reading and hearing widespread insinuations that a somewhat disappointing, less-than-assertive 17/7 guy is better at basketball than a force of nature who, in slightly better circumstances, could put up 25/8 every night while finally making other teams fear one of the West's better young squads, that's the definition of homer blinders. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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