LaMarcus Aldridge will always be on of the more underrated and underappreciated Spurs. He was their biggest free agency get of all time back in 2015, and while his first few seasons here were successful, it ultimately didn’t go as hoped thanks to the Kawhi Leonard drama and the DeMar DeRozan era not quite working out. Still, despite spending just over five seasons with the club, Aldridge is tenth all time in win shares with the Spurs and helped extend their winning ways past the Big Three Era.
However, Aldridge’s time here was not without drama. Despite a successful first season that ended with 67 wins (but a disappointing second-round exit riddled with questionable officiating and bad luck), a bombshell report came out in the summer of 2016 that he had requested a trade. All sides denied it at the time, but we would later learn that it did in fact happen, the Spurs handled it in-house, and all was well by the start of the next season between the two parties.
Recently, Aldridge appeared on the Oddball podcast with Amin Elhassan and Charlotte Wilder, and he revealed one of the issues that caused him and Gregg Popovich to butt heads during that first season: fourth quarter play in blowouts. While Aldridge wanted play just a few minutes to maintain a rhythm, Pop didn’t want risk unnecessary injury. Aldridge admitted he understands and appreciates the approach today, but he didn’t like it at the time.
What’s easy to miss is the context leading up to the answer, which was him admitting he may not make a good coach because he himself was hard to coach, with the 4th quarter issue with Pop being his example. By now, if you’ve read the headline of this article, things may seem a bit backwards, but here’s the twist. While Aldridge was likely saying he wouldn’t make a good head coach, he later responded to fan on
Aldridge is certainly a player Wemby could model his mid- and post-games after. Although they have very different body types, Aldridge was a master of post moves in his heyday, not to mention he has a high basketball IQ. He wouldn’t be the first Spurs legend to come in and help younger players develop. Tim Duncan has been practicing with the squad since retiring in 2016 and added one year as assistant coach to his resume, and Manu Ginobili now holds a special advisor role and can frequently be spotted in the gym.
There’s no telling if this will ever come to fruition or not, but with Pop’s ever-growing coaching tree and positions constantly becoming available as his assistants build their resume and move on, it’s quite possible we could see Coach Aldridge in the gym someday, and that would be pretty cool.