COMMENTARY | LaMarcus Aldridge has proven over the past two seasons that he belongs among the NBA's top players.
But he's yet to receive enough opportunity to produce much while in their midst.
Aldridge played in his second NBA All-Star Game on Sunday in Houston, going scoreless in 11-and-a-half minutes on 0-for-2 field-goal shooting. That gives Aldridge a total of four points in his two All-Star Game appearances, all of those coming last season, when he was chosen to the Western Conference team for the first time.
On Sunday, in the West's 143-138 win over the East, Aldridge did have four rebounds and blocked a couple of shots, but he was one of only two players in the game to go without a bucket; Eastern Conference starter Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics, who played just 6:26, was the other.
Last season in Orlando, Fla., Aldridge played less than 10 minutes and went 2-for-5 from the field in the West's 152-149 win.
It's typically difficult for reserves to get large chunks of minutes in the NBA's annual defense-optional game. Fans vote in the starters and expect to see them play the bulk of the minutes, which they typically do (Garnett notwithstanding). In two ASG's, Aldridge has played a little more than 21 minutes total, attempting just seven shots.
The only Western Conference starter to play less than that on Sunday was the Los Angeles Lakers' Dwight Howard, who logged 14:11 and went 4-for-6 from the field. Hometown star James Harden of the Houston Rockets played almost 26 minutes off the bench for the West, and San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker played nearly 22 minutes, also topping Aldridge's two-game total.
Aldridge has shown with his play during the regular season that he belongs with the NBA's stars. But it's clear that before he's going to leave a meaningful imprint on an All-Star Game, he's going to need to get some decent playing time.
Adam Sparks has followed the Portland Trail Blazers since the early 1980s, and has written about the team as a freelancer since 2009.