LaMarcus Aldridge is going to be one of the biggest names on the NBA buyout market, but he’s not good enough to help the Lakers win another title
Barring a shocking trade or last-minute change of heart by the Spurs it seems inevitable that LaMarcus Aldridge is going to hit NBA free agency via a buyout. Lakers fans will clamor for their favorite team to scoop up the former All-Star, but the reality is he’s not good enough to help Los Angeles capture another NBA Championship.
Brian Windhorst claims that the league feels Aldridge is most likely headed to the Miami Heat in the coming days, but both the Lakers and Clippers are also interested in his services. This is a free agency battle the Lakers should be happy to lose.
The team’s desire to find a new option at center is understandable. Neither Montrezl Harrell nor Marc Gasol has lived up to expectations this season. That doesn’t mean just any big man off the street can provide the Lakers a boost. In particular, they need to find a guy who can hold up on the defensive end of the floor in the postseason.
Why should the Lakers avoid LaMarcus Aldridge?
Aldridge’s performance on that end of the floor for the Spurs this season has been dreadful. He’s never been a defensive stalwart but his 114.2 rating this season is the worst mark of his career. His lack of athleticism and quickness is now apparent in almost every matchup he faces. Aldridge’s inability to guard quality bigs will make him a hunted man come playoff time.
The idea of Aldridge is still that his skill on the offensive end can make up for any of his athletic deficiencies on the other end of the floor. The reality that he’s only been an average shooter this season blows that concept out of the water. His true shooting percentage of 54.5 is hovering right around the league average. Shooting 36 percent from 3 helps prop that number up, but it also underscores the fact that Aldridge can’t do anything around the basket at this stage of his career.
Admittedly, the Lakers won’t need to part with anything of consequence to land Aldridge at the deadline. They’d still be better served to land a more athletic big like Andre Drummond if they enjoy that choice. Aldridge is too limited on defense to provide the Lakers the sort of help they need to make a deep playoff run.