LaMarcus Aldridge NBA Draft Scouting Report
Jan 18, 2006, 01:45 am
Aldridge possesses all the physical characteristics NBA GMs dream about in a big man. He has terrific size for an NBA big man at 6-11 or possibly even 7 feet, long arms that extend almost to his knees, and all-star caliber athletic ability. Aldridge is a quick and fluid player who moves like a ballerina and runs the floor like a guard. He is extremely coordinated for his size, and possesses a vertical leap that allows him to spring high off the floor in the blink of an eye. In todays modern NBA that is so much more reliant on quickness and athleticism rather than brute strength, he has the ability to play either the 4 or the 5 spot for his team depending on where he is drafted.
Offensively, Aldridge is about as talented and versatile as you can ask for out of a big man, but at the same time is also fundamentally sound. It is obvious that he was well coached as a youngster. He already has a number of silky smooth go-to moves in his arsenal that are downright impossible to stop at this level, mostly of the finesse type.
The first would be a terrific jump-hook shot. Aldridge sets up shop on the baseline anywhere out to 15 feet, catches the ball, spins to either shoulder, squares them simultaneously, elevates gracefully with one hand underneath the ball and flicks his wrist at the height of his leap with a soft touch. All in one quick, fluid motion. The second would be his turnaround jump-shot. When he doesnt have the strength or will to back his man all the way to the basket, Aldridge can catch the ball, spin and fade away quickly, elevate straight up off the ground and get high enough to give him all the time in the world needed to knock down his shot with deadly accuracy. Both of these moves are simple and fundamental, but Aldridge executes them perfectly and has the perfect physical characteristics to make them nearly unblockable. Watching him practice these moves, there is little doubt that he has spent some time studying tape on Kevin Garnett.
Since Aldridge appears to be used to playing with guards who often have absolutely no idea how to get him the ball in the paint, he is able to step outside and do some damage from there as well. He has a beautiful jump-shot with range out to about 18 feet, but has looked to rely less on this part of his game over the past few years, which is certainly a good from a player his size. With that said, having the ability to punish his man with a jump-shot makes him that much more versatile and dangerous.
Being a player who runs the floor like a deer and often beats guards down the floor with his huge strides, he is obviously a lethal finisher in transition. But he is also skilled and smart enough to not be a liability with the ball in his hands here, and can even do some ball-handling of his own, either to finish smoothly himself or find the open man. If you dont box out on the defensive end, hell get off his feet instantaneously and flush the put-back down emphatically.
Aldridge is not just able to get up and down the court in the blink of an eye; he is also quite willing as well, as he doesnt seem to tire easily. He is tough to get a body on in the paint because of his quickness and executes his moves fluidly enough that a smart guard can just run the floor with him, set him up in the paint with a good post-entry pass and walk away knowing that he will finish the play or get to the line. Aldridge gets low to the ground to catch the ball and can surprise his rival by elevating quickly and strongly for a soft finish off the glass. His reflexes are superb and his hands are good enough to let him catch nearly anything that is thrown his way as long as he isnt being pushed around too much.
At the line, Aldridge has all the makings of a very good free throw shooter, thanks to the perfect mechanics on his shot.
Defensively, Aldridge has extremely quick feet and the coordination and reflexes to react to most situations. His length, leaping ability and mind usually do the rest at the college level, blocking a decent amount of shots and altering countless others. In terms of rebounding, the same can be said. He has the physical gifts needed to simply outquick and outleap rivals in and out of the paint. This allows him to pull down double digit rebounds most games, many out of his area, without really breaking a sweat.
In terms of intangibles, everything Ive heard and seen says that he is a great teammate both on and off the court. At times you can tell that he wants to be somewhat of a leader on his team, but just doesnt know how yet. He is very unselfish, almost to a fault at times, but looks very good moving the ball around in a set offense, especially passing out of the double team. It wouldnt be a stretch to say that the game comes easy to him and that he is just now beginning to scrape the surface on his vast potential.