Doctor MJ wrote:
GREY 1769 wrote:And yes, if you watch you see LaMarcus really is a defensive anchor down low for us. He's taken on the responsibility to improve on that end all the while keeping up his O numbers well. He's shouldered the team and kept things steady through some turbulent times. His even keeled demeanour perhaps contributes to his being underappreciated at least outside of SA, but these last couple of years especially he's really risen to the anchor role and appreciation for his value has as well. He got a mural and everything.
Aldridge's defense was originally the key reason why he was underrated. He's a good defender who should simply approach offense differently. I could quibble about just how good his defense is (good but not a defensive star) but my bigger issue is the notion that he has an even-keeled demeanor. Dude demanded a trade from your team a year after being unhappy on his previous team.
I have no doubt that when he feels the right kind of fawning from those around him that he can play the part of the noble leader, but when the wind blows the other way, he's got a very different track record.
My broader point about LMA was that he's grown, and so descriptions such as 'demanded a trade' when a request to Pop was made and then in fact he and Pop sat down, talked things through, and there was acknowledgement on both sides of working together better shows that it was a situation that was handled maturely. He even re-signed after that. When that instance is looked at in totality rather than isolating one aspect, the story is really a positive one. He was acknowledged as the steadying presence the last couple of turbulent years publicly by Pop and his teammates, so don't take my word for it. But I've watched every game, every interview I could, so in fairness you may not have come across those.
Not sure where the fawning comment comes from, but if it's rooted in past behaviour, my sense is that you're attributing that to the present and it's clouding who and where he is now. Sure players at this level have egos and what makes them tick is different one from the next. From what I've witnessed and those around him have attested to, that need to have others fawn over him does not fit, though he's received plenty of praise, rightfully so when he's played well. The fit with Leonard may not have been there, and to whatever extent it was a LMA issue, it was decidedly a Leonard one as well. That LMA played so smoothly with more willing team-wide passing isn't that the team deferred, but that they all played well together. LMA is a rhythm-from-volume scorer and so he needs to get his shots in his spots, but he's also improved in making faster decisions with the ball even from last season to the one before (but we relied on him far more two seasons ago as well, so there's that). LMA gets on great with DeMar, though that openness is a two-way street, and he is a 'big bro' to the younger guys. They all like one another, and that's a fit that you can see on the court as well.
He IS amenable, and he can and has adapted while getting his. For a team comprised of half new players and another star to share with, the system and LMA did well within it. It frankly worked better than I thought given all the changes going into last season. LMA, as the steady anchor, was central to facilitating that.