Since agreeing to take his talents to the San Antonio Spurs back in 2015, LaMarcus Aldridge has seen a steady decline in his production. He has not been able to average the same numbers during his last few seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers, and some of the team’s fans are starting to get frustrated with him. However, Gregg Popovich came to his defense by saying he is to blame for it, as he made a mistake with his starting power forward.
The veteran head coach recently admitted, via Michael C. Wright of ESPN, that 98.75 percent of the fault is on him as he tried to change Aldridge’s game. Popovich then added that it has made him uncomfortable with their system, resulting to lower production from him.
“I did talk with him several times during the summer. He just didn’t feel comfortable. It’s 98.75 percent on me, and whatever’s left – because I can’t subtract that much – on him. But I tried to change him. I thought back to when Timmy [Duncan] came, and people said, ‘What are you going to do with Tim Duncan?’ I said, ‘Nothing. I’m just going to watch him for about six months, see what he does. He’s a pretty good player, and if there’s something I think I can add, then I’ll do it.’ With LaMarcus, he got here and on Day 1, I said, ‘OK, you’re going to do this, and you’re going to do this pump fake.’ I tried to change him. I tried to make him a different player, and I think that really affected his ability to feel comfortable and confident on the court. And we took care of that, basically by me letting him know that we were going to do it differently, and that it was on me, not him.”
Aldridge is a five-time All-Star and is considered one of the best big men in the league today. His ability to score near the basket and knock down shots from the perimeter has made him a nightmare matchup for opposing teams. However, his talent on both ends of the floor has not been maximized yet in San Antonio, and he could still be in line for better performances in the future.
Now that Popovich has acknowledged his mistake, it could be good news for the Spurs fans. He will now allow him to play his natural game, which could make Aldridge regain his old form, and become the player they’ve always wanted him to be with the team. Should that happen, he will boost the Spurs’ chances further in contending for a title, and they could also return to their glory days as well.