If LaMarcus Aldridge didn’t believe in himself enough to call himself a No. 1 player on the Portland Trailblazers, then he wouldn’t be the type of player that could be a number one guy. On the flip side, by calling himself ‘that guy’, he now has put a lot of pressure on himself to go out and prove it.
Sometimes, you just can’t win.
That’s the predicament he finds himself in after CSNNW.com spoke with the former Texas star at length.
“I think every team in this league feels that I’m a number one and that’s why they double-team me and they scheme me the way they do it. If I wasn’t a number one, teams wouldn’t double-team me and teams wouldn’t try to take me out.So I don’t think there’s no need to bring in a number one. This organization can do whatever they want to do, but I think it’s definitely good to keep putting really solid pieces around myself, Dame [Lillard], Meyers [Leonard], and J.J. [Hickson]. But I don’t think it’s no need to bring in a number one, but if they do, I’ll play my role.”
Number one guys have to think this way, and he’s right on the money to say the things he’s said. Now, he has to prove it.
The 27-year-old has averaged 17.8 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game in his six seasons in the NBA, and he’ll need to improve on both ends of the floor to prove himself right when it comes to his comments. But he’s got the talent, and he’s going to continue to get better. Statistically, he’s shown steady improvement each year, and perhaps these words show that he’s ready to take the next step and become an elite player from a mental standpoint as well.
He was an All-Star for the first time in 2012, a distinction he’ll need to earn each year if he wishes to solidify himself as the type of NBA player to build a franchise around. The bottom line is that even though he may not be where he thinks he is as of yet, at the very least, he has the belief that he can be the player he thinks he is.
In a stacked Western Conference, he’ll have his work cut out for him. But along those same lines, if he can carry his team into the playoffs and surprise some folks, it could be just what he needs to improve his confidence and move him into the NBA’s upper echelon.
Michael C. Jones is the Editor of Sports Out West. You can follow him on Twitter @MikeJonesTweets.