Former University of Kansas standout Cole Aldrich is one of the big men currently battling for a spot on the New York Knicks‘ regular season roster. As a “true center,” he has a built-in advantage over other hopefuls like Ike Diogu and Josh Powell because the Knicks have a far greater need for Tyson Chandler insurance (especially with Mike Woodson having said he doesn’t want to wear out Kenyon Martin this year) than they do for another power forward.
In college Aldrich built his reputation as a shot blocker, and his ability to protect the rim is his main strength as a pro. Though he’s received very limited playing time so far in the NBA, he’s managed to swat 2.4 shots per 36 minutes. His size and length allow him to affect opponents’ shots in the paint, but he has a bad habit of fouling too often, racking up an insane 5.7 fouls per 36 minutes. Obviously, as an end-of-the-bench big man, he has leeway to foul more freely than a player getting regular minutes, but that’s still a troubling statistic.
He works hard on the defensive end and generally positions himself well, but he’s slow-footed and vulnerable to the blow-by in the pick-and-roll. He can certainly do a respectable job filling in as the Knicks’ backup center, but there will be a bit of a drop-off on the defensive end due to his lack of mobility.
Offensively, he has a lot of work to do. He’s quite a good offensive rebounder, but he contributes little else on that end of the floor. While he plays within the scheme of his team’s offense fairly well, he lacks touch around the hoop and he’s unlikely to convert anything outside of the immediate basket area. He’s also not an alley-oop threat like Chandler or K-Mart because of his lack of athleticism.
Aldrich is currently one of the favorites to earn one of the Knicks’ final three roster spots. If he makes the team, he’ll be looking to provide solid defense and shot blocking as a role player off the bench.