Pounding the Rock welcomes the always great Dave Deckard, of sister blog Blazer's Edge, and his expertise of Portland basketball for a quick round of Q&A.
1. What are Aldridge's limitations defensively, and what is his ceiling as a defender?
Dave Deckard: Aldridge operates well in space for a big man. As long as he can stay mobile, you won't be ashamed of him as a defender. He can stay in front of wings on the perimeter if switched and sweep across for help when needed. Holding ground one-on-one against big players he's adequate, not spectacular. He's not a shot blocker. You've been spoiled with Tim Duncan and David Robinson. He's not that kind of impact defender. But he'll be OK.
2. It's likely that Aldridge's numbers will go down in San Antonio, as one-on-one play is minimized and the shot is taken by whoever has the best look. How do you think he will react if he's not a 20 and 10 guy any more?
Deckard: Is he the highest scorer on your team or close to it? Should be fine then. Plus how long is that contract and how many rings will he get? I don't imagine Aldridge complaining if he's playing in June. If you stink and you're still not going to him, that might be an issue.
Besides, if I recall my Spurs history correctly, at one time you got a few more shots for your Big 3 than everybody else. That's one thing you'll have to remember. You're used to the ancient version of San Antonio where no single player stands out all that much anymore. This is like turning back the clock 10 years. Not that Aldridge is the exact Duncan analog he's being made out to be in some quarters, but at least on offense you have a clear, All-NBA #1 option again. I imagine that'll shift the system a little.
3. San Antonio is a unique place in terms of organization, coaching, and how they deal with the media. How do you see Aldridge fitting into that kind of environment?
Deckard: Yes. Aldridge likes credit but doesn't like being vocal or up front. The Spurs already have experienced media schmoozers and Pop the Human Lightning Rod. Plus they've won titles and their bona fides are established...no need for them to minimize Aldridge's impact to make themselves shine. It's the perfect spot: no waves, plenty of accolades, nothing flashy.
4. With the way Pop likes to experiment with lineups, Aldridge will probably be asked to play the 5 when the Spurs go small. How do you think he'll respond?
Deckard: Like everybody does to Pop. "OK, Coach." They shouldn't need to go small that often though.
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