All the talk about LaMarcus Aldridge not wanting to stay with the Portland Trail Blazers might be a little unsettling for the NBA Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard. It would be in Lillard’s best interests if Aldridge stays.
Lillard is a better player with an outstanding player like Aldridge in the lineup. The presence of Aldridge takes the pressure off Lillard and lets him do his thing.
Lillard is coming off a fabulous season with 19.1 points, 3.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists a game. But Aldridge had even better numbers with 20.9 points and 8.9 boards a game.
Last season, Lillard quietly put up his numbers because opponents were focusing on Aldridge and some of the other top-notch Blazer players. This season, Lillard, now that he has established his reputation, is likely to get more attention. He’s not going to sneak up on opponents like he did last season.
That’s not to say Lillard can’t produce when he gets more attention. He’ll be a year older, a year wiser and a year better. He will never be easy to guard.
If Aldridge is gone, Lillard could gain more defensive pressure than he would prefer. It obviously depends on what the Blazers would get in return. That’s why it’d be ludicrous to trade Aldridge for draft picks only. The Blazers should demand an excellent player in return.
If they would trade Aldridge for a lesser player or draft picks only, the Blazers would leave Lillard more vulnerable and perhaps a less effective player than last season, simply because of the absence of one outstanding player.