LaMarcus Aldridge's stats are down, but ask him if he cares

LaMarcus Aldridge posts up a Net. (Getty Images)
LaMarcus Aldridge posts up a Net. (Getty Images)

By just about any measure, LaMarcus Aldridge is in the middle of the worst statistical year since a rookie season spent mostly coming off the bench. His points are down, to 16.3 per game. His rebounds per game are back in the single digits. Yes, the Spurs have him playing under 30 minutes a game, but his per-minute production is as low as it’s been since the 2009-10 campaign, the last season that saw him miss the All-Star Game.

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As a result, LMA might not even make this year’s All-Star Game, leaving a 36-6 San Antonio Spurs club with potentially just one representative despite a stellar first half of the season.

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And LaMarcus? LaMarcus does not appear to mind. From Jeff McDonald at the San Antonio Express-News:

Before he slipped on his No. 12 Spurs jersey for the first time, he had already mentally sacrificed his personal statistics on the altar of “good to great.”

“I’m happy,” Aldridge said. “We’re winning, so I’m happy.”


“It’s just easier, having a bunch of guys that can make big plays and have big nights,” Aldridge said. “It makes it easier on everyone.”

With that in place, let’s not discount the amount of “big nights” Aldridge has been pumping in recently.

The first-year Spur has pumped in five games of 20 or more points in his last eight games since Dec. 30, as San Antonio has won ten straight and 17 of 18 (or, hell, let’s just go with “36 of 42”). He hasn’t played more than 36 minutes per game during the winning streak, an average he’s topped on the season six times in his career, and one he approached (at 35.4 minutes a game) in his last season with Portland in 2014-15.


There was significant and understandable worry that Aldridge would need a season, or more, to ease his way into San Antonio’s ever-shifting offense. There were a few fits to start the season, barely perceptible, but as things have moved along and the Spurs have dashed past 2015-16’s midpoint it’s become obvious that the newest cog is expertly working out:

“The system hasn’t been that difficult for him,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “I think the thing that takes time is having all new teammates and understanding how to play with them, who does what, where they’re going to be on the court.”

Aldridge is the second-leading scorer on league’s third-best offense. Nobody was fearful that he would stop San Antonio’s ball movement out of selfish tendencies, rather merely bad habits, and neither has reared their respective heads over the first 42 contests. Aldridge is shooting more often from around the rim and he’s even doing damage on the right side of the court, an area he rarely ventured over toward during his superb nine-season run with Portland.

Again, LMA isn’t some per-minute, advanced stats wonder. Outside of an improved rebound rate, improved field goal percentage and an uptick in turnover rate, his non-box score stats have continued merrily along as he’s moved from PDX to San Antonio. He’s moved aside at times to let Tony Parker, Boris Diaw and Manu Ginobili enjoy their career resurgences, he’s watched as David West (who famously gave up $11 million to be part of this) averages 16.4 minutes a game (half as many as he would on a lesser team), and he’s been as big a part as any of San Antonio’s colossal league-leading turn in defensive efficiency.


And, for all this, the 30-year old might miss his last and best chance at making yet another All-Star team. The West remains loaded, as even Blake Griffin’s 23-point, nine-rebound, five-assist season (due to an ongoing quad injury) might not be enough to put him on the squad, while youngsters like DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, and Draymond Green don’t figure to fade away any time soon.

Gregg Popovich, because teams can’t send league-leading coaches to consecutive All-Star Games (even if last year’s coach, Steve Kerr, isn’t actually coaching the Warriors right now), is more or less a lock to coach his fourth All-Star contest. While he wouldn’t mind triumphing his new power forward, you also get the feeling that he would probably prefer Aldridge take in a week off rather than grab his fifth career All-Star berth.

This is what LaMarcus signed up for. In one way, literally. Such is the lush life, with the San Antonio Spurs.

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Kelly Dwyer

is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!