Portland Trail Blazers: LaMarcus Aldridge's Teammates Need Consistency

Zeeshan KhanContributor IIJanuary 21, 2012

PORTLAND, OR - APRIL 21:  LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the Portland Trail Blazers celebrates a dunk against the Dallas Mavericks in Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 21, 2011 at the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

The Portland Trail Blazers surprised everyone who thought they would be missing the playoffs by kicking off their season with a 7-2 record, which included a road win over the Oklahoma City Thunder and a quality home win over Kobe Bryant's Lakers.

But since then, they have been struggling, first by losing to the Orlando Magic at home, then on their road trip, where they have a 2-3 record. 

In the game against the San Antonio Spurs, they were right there in the fourth quarter before the Spurs, mostly with bench players on the floor, went on a huge run to put away the Blazers in a rout.

Then in the game against the Hawks, the Blazers brought the game close in the third quarter after trailing for most of the first half. The problem was that they let the Hawks go on a 13-0 run at the end of the third quarter, which meant that they were once again playing from behind. To start off the fourth quarter, the Blazers went on their own 13-0 run to get back in the game, but the Hawks came out of the game with the win.

This was after the Blazers had left the Rose Garden, losing to the Magic after a frantic fourth quarter rally in which they brought the game back within three points after giving up a huge lead to start the game. This has been a worrisome trend for the Blazers at the start of the season, as the same thing happened in Los Angeles against the Clippers in their first road game.

These are the complete stats of the Trail Blazers' players this season who are averaging over 10 points a game.

  LaMarcus Aldridge 14 14 37.9 .492 .333 .794 2.4 1.36 1.50 22.5
  Gerald Wallace 14 14 34.8 .481 .270 .673 2.4 1.43 2.14 14.2
  Wesley Matthews 14 14 33.2 .434 .353 .854 1.2 1.50 1.21 14.1
  Jamal Crawford 14 0 24.9 .345 .315 .953 3.5 1.21 1.86 12.7
  Nicolas Batum 14 0 24.7 .429 .457 .864 .9 .57 1.07 11.5
  Raymond Felton 14 14 34.1 .346 .156 .784 7.3 1.21 2.93 10.3

As you can see, beyond Aldridge and Gerald Wallace, the rest of the players' field goal percentages are very low. And even Wallace has struggled with his consistency, playing great at home, while even being held scoreless on the road.

The players that stand out the most are Jamal Crawford and Raymond Felton. Crawford has taken the second most shots on the team, behind Aldridge, and he is also making the lowest percentage of them. He takes a lot of contested jump shots, which look great when they go in, but really hurt the team when he misses them. He needs to work on making more of his shots, or start taking less of them.

Raymond Felton also has to step up for the team, and start making his shots. He is having a very bad year from three point territory, and has made only 15 percent of his attempts from there. This is very alarming, as the Blazers' half court offense relies on the perimeter players hitting their open looks, to reduce the amount of time that Aldridge is double-teamed. 

Unless these two players start making more of their shots, and make some shots when teams are going on scoring runs against the Blazers, the result will be another low playoff seed, and a first round playoff loss, for a team that has potential to reach the Finals.