Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I'm Sure Things Are Shit-Your-Pants-Tastic In Portland

But let's try to be fair, Blazer Boosters. You're digging a well of disdain, and I'm the bucket brigade... or something.
Aldridge is among players like Al Jefferson, Rudy Gay and Mike Dunleavy, Jr. who all had great individual seasons (on not very good teams). The likely favorite, though, to win the award is Hedo Turkoglu of the (playoff-bound) Orlando Magic. Turkoglu is by far having his best season (out of eight total) this year, playing alongside Dwight Howard and Rahsard Lewis. Like Aldridge, he's posting career highs per game in many categories: minutes (37.3 from 31.1), points (19.7 from 13.3), FG and 3pt.%, rebounds (5.8 from 4) and assists (5 from 2). All in the ultra-competitive Eastern Conference.
It's hard to compare these two players side-by-side specifically since they play different positions, but I'll do it any way. They are close to the same size but play a different style of game. Aldridge is more of your conventional PF, mixing points inside with a smooth shooting touch from 15 and in. Turkoglu is more of a pure shooter and hangs out mainly outside the arc. Much of Hedo's strong season can be attributed to (probably) the best center in the game, Dwight Howard, commanding double teams and sucking in defenses. Aldridge is the second/first scoring option for the Blazers and often sees double teams. Aldridge is one of the better power forwards in the toughest conference the league has seen in years and is still learning how to play the PF position in the NBA. And had Greg Oden been a part of this year's lineup, we may have seen even more inflated numbers from Aldridge.
If Sean Meagher wants to call the good production on a "not very good team" play, I might as well check if the Blazers are any good. Hey, they're not even as good as the Pacers. If Hollinger is too elitist, too world-widey, check the B-Ref SRS. Portland is sandwiched between Cleveland and Sacramento. It's pretty obvious there's promise in the Rose Garden, but the pats on the back can wait another season.

LMA's per game improvements have been well documented as crap, and as much as I hate to write Hedo off, he's having a season similar to 2005-06. His AST% is up, but that's probably the result of Dwight Howard and Rashard Lewis making baskets. Everything else is all Hedo, and more possessions; Orlando's pace factor in 2005-06 was 88.3. It's currently at 93.4.

Turkoglu also leads Orlando's regular rotation in USG%. Regardless of Dwight Howard's star status, and Rashard Lewis' contract, Hedo is using a higher percentage of possessions, and playing as many minutes. Aldridge is similarly ranked on the Blazers. Pace aside, both players are the most often used scoring options on their teams. I can't admit to counting how many times a play was called for either guy, but the end result is what really matters.

That "more of your conventional PF" stuff? Aldridge and Turkoglu definitely have different spots, but both qualify for the TYI Chaise Lounge Chuckin' Big Man Award. 65% of Aldridge's FGA were jump-shots. 68% of Turkoglu's FGA were jump-shots. Does Hedo win, or does convention lose?

Comparing and contrasting two players up for an award they have no business winning was a lot of laughs, unfortunately I have to move on to the lamest statement in Meagher's post. Could there be a more convenient time to say, "Aldridge is one of the better power forwards in the toughest conference the league has seen in years"? Elton Brand has only played in 6 games, Pau Gasol hasn't played next to Bynum, Marion is in the East, and Carl Landry hasn't played that much. That leaves just 6 power forwards (including former center Amare Stoudemire, and center-forward Tim Duncan) in the Western Conference with a higher 2007-08 PER than Aldridge. Good luck sneaking Aldridge into that discussion next season.

H/T to Blogabull.


Anonymous bullshooter said...

The fact that LMA was a second overall pick should disqualify him to begin with. If he didn't improve, at least marginally, he'd be a bust as far as any sane person should be concerned. In fact, lottery picks as a group shouldn't even be considered.

1:52 PM  
Blogger Hot Shit College Student said...

I'm not sure about that. I agree with Dwyer that Chris Paul probably improved more than any other player. It should be open for anyone who deserves it, and I'd bet most of the time the winner would be a journeyman, or fringier player.

2:46 PM  
Blogger CoachSkiles said...

Hopefully, this summer Pax will take Kirk out behind the barn and shoot him.

4:55 PM  
Blogger BenGo07 said...

Where are all the rabid Blazers fans? I totally thought this would elicit many a commenter informing us that "Pritch totally pwn3d Paxson" and "TYRUS THOMAS SUX!" They must be as uninterested in their team as we are in ours.

5:46 PM  

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