Tag Archive: LaMarcus Aldridge


All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge and highly versatile wing Nicolas Batum have been joined by budding star Damian Lillard in a new core that is taking Portland places (Image | Getty)

All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge and highly versatile wing Nicolas Batum have been joined by budding star Damian Lillard in a new core that is taking Portland places (Image | Getty)

On November 13th 2013, the Portland Trail Blazers entertained the Phoenix Suns at the recently renamed Moda Center (rest in peace, Rose Garden) in a matchup of two teams widely expected to tank this season, with eight or 10 other teams, in search of landing top spot in the best NBA Draft in a decade.

Except the Suns, who had beaten Portland on NBA opening night in the desert, were 4-2 by then and had only lost in road games against Oklahoma City and San Antonio, both times by seven points or fewer.Portland, meanwhile, were 5-2 and were on their way to building an early-season 11-game winning streak which propelled them to the summit of the Western Conference.

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University of Kentucky teammates Anthony Davis (left) and MIchael Kidd-Gilchrist followed up their NCAA crown by becoming the top two overall picks in the 2012 NBA Draft (Image | SMTDaily.com)

There was plenty of pre-season hype surrounding the Draft Class of 2012 when the draft was made back in June. The likes of number one pick Anthony Davis and his new New Orleans teammate Austin Rivers (#10 pick), Charlotte’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (#2), Portland duo Meyers Leonard (#11) and particularly Damian Lillard (#6), and a host of others have already made their mark on the league in the new season.

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A great occasion losing its way?

So what can we take away from All-Star Weekend?

The battle between Kevin Durant (left) and LeBron James became the story of the 2012 All-Star Game

Kevin Durant and LeBron James going head-to-head in the All-Star Game itself was the highlight of my weekend. Each scored 36 points and anchored their teams’ offense. The athleticism on show by both men, surely the two leading contenders (along with ‘Bron’s East teammate, Derrick Rose) for MVP honours come post-season, was just as incredible as their ability to get to the rack with ease – even if the All-Star Game isn’t exactly a defensive Mecca. James’ careless late-game turnover shouldn’t blemish his performance over 48 minutes, in my opinion.

The All-Star Game is a tradition as old as organised sport itself in the major leagues of North America. The first NBA season ran through the winter of 1947-8, and the first All-Star Game arrived in 1951. Ever since, it’s been the ultimate individual honour for a player to be named to the All-Star teams, representing their teammates, their cities, and their conferences.

I’m a fan of the All-Star Game. I got a huge kick out of seeing Gerald Wallace represent my Bobcats (first all-star in franchise history) in 2010, even if he hardly played and didn’t do much. It’s a great measure of not just the players, but also the teams, whose stocks are rising among league coaches and, for the likes of LaMarcus Aldridge and Luol Deng this year, gives deserved recognition to players who all too often get overlooked.

Unfortunately, 21st-century America is torturing the All-Star Game, forcing it to drag behind it the ever-greater burden of more new crappy events and sponsorship opportunities. Yes, the All-Star Game (hereafter ASG) is an unmovable institution – but All-Star Weekend (ASW), as far as I’m concerned, can go to hell.

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