LaMarcus Aldridge has been relegated to a bench role for the San Antonio Spurs, which is going to take some time getting used to, both for him and the fans. After being moved to the bench earlier this week, Aldridge spoke about being demoted to a bench role for the Spurs.
“It’s very different,” Aldridge said after his 26-minute backup stint produced 11 points and seven rebounds at OKC, via Jeff McDonald of Express News. “I’m still trying to figure it out, how to be ready to go.”
On Wednesday versus the Oklahoma City Thunder, Aldridge returned from a hip injury that caused him to miss six games. In his first game back, Greg Popovich elected to move Aldridge to the bench in favor of Trey Lyles, Jakob Poeltl, and Luka Samanic in the frontcourt.
Instead of moving Aldridge back into the starting lineup on Saturday, Popovich kept Aldridge in a reserve role against the New Orleans Pelicans, where he tallied 21 points, five rebounds, and a block. Before being benched, Aldridge had made 980 consecutive starts without coming off of the bench.
Aldridge’s streak of such games was the second-most since his draft class in 2006, behind LeBron James, who has started in 1,060 straight games without coming off of the bench. The veteran forward knows it’s going to take some time to get acclimated to his new role.
“It wasn’t perfect tonight, and I don’t think it’s going to be perfect for a while,” Aldridge said. “It’s going to take some time for me to figure it out.”
The 35-year-old forward is no longer the player he once was when he was dominating opposing teams with his impressive post moves. But with the Spurs looking toward the future, Aldridge is going to have to adjust to his new role as a bench contributor this season.