Wednesday, April 8, 2009

LaMarcus Aldridge, he is pretty good

LaMarcus Aldridge has been hotter than a pea-sized sun for the Blazers lately, which has some people wondering where Paul Allen is hiding his 193 giant lasers. Over the last ten games (prior to April 8th) Aldridge has averaged 21 points, 9 rebounds, 2.5 assists (have you heard he can pass?), and 1.5 blocks per contest.

While the broadcasting team ESPN had covering the game against San Antonio seemed shocked at Aldridge's ability to decimate the Spurs, nobody should have been surprised. Consider this interesting statistical habit of Aldridge: he tends to do more scoring damage against higher quality opponents. Take a look at his scoring output versus the good, the average, and the poor teams in the League:
Vs. The Good: 19.2 ppg
Vs. The Average: 18.4 ppg
Vs. The Poor: 17.7 ppg
I would have sooner expected this positive relationship for the likes of Brandon Roy, who seems content to let his teammates fill it up against lesser opponents and takes over when the situation demands it. The thing about stats is that they can poke holes in our unscrutinized beliefs. Check out the same numbers for RoyBot:
Vs. The Good: 21.4
Vs. The Average: 22.3
Vs. The Poor: 24.7

It will be interesting to see how Aldridge's pattern changes as he continues to progress. As his performance continues to improve, defenses will be increasingly motivated to slow him down. Will we see his pattern reverse directions and resemble that of Brandon Roy?

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