Wes Matthews: 'Unselfish' LaMarcus Aldridge Is 'Best Power Forward in the NBA'

Alec NathanFeatured ColumnistDecember 21, 2013

Dec 14, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) celebrates with guard Wesley Matthews (2) during the third quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center. The Trail Blazers defeated the Sixers 139-105. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

LaMarcus Aldridge is putting together an MVP-caliber campaign behind averages of 23.3 points and 11.1 rebounds, and teammate Wesley Matthews has made it abundantly clear what he thinks of the Portland Trail Blazers' star big man. 

Appearing on the Amani & Eytan show on NBC Sports Radio, Matthews didn't mince words when it came to ranking Aldridge as the league's best power forward (via ProBasketballTalk): 

"In my opinion, LaMarcus is the best power forward in the NBA. I think that we’re winning now, it’s evident…

He just wants to win, he’s an extremely unselfish. There was a time, forgot what game it was, I think he had 16 straight points or something like that, he was just balling and not missing a shot. We passed him the ball — and he had 38 so we want him to go ahead and get his 40 — and my guy was in the corner and he kind of stunted a little bit and what I yelled was like ‘ya LA, shoot the ball” and he passed it to me because he thought it was the right play."

In terms of scoring, Aldridge currently ranks second among all power forwards behind the Minnesota Timberwolves' Kevin Love, who's averaging 25.2 points on 44.9 percent shooting from the field and 38.2 percent shooting from three.

In addition, according to the NBA's SportVU player tracking, Aldridge ranks fourth among all players and first among power forwards in catch-and-shoot field goal percentage (50.6), and ranks sixth among all players and second among power forwards (behind Kevin Love) in total points scored in catch-and-shoot situations. 

And when it comes to being unselfish, Matthews may have a point. Aldridge currently ranks tied for seventh among all power forwards in assists per game (2.8) and tied for fifth among power forwards with 75 total assists.  

It appears that Matthews also agrees with B/R's Adam Fromal, who recently ranked Aldridge as the league's best power forward ahead of Love thanks to his superior defense: 

"Neither Love nor Aldridge is a standout defender, but two areas push the latter well ahead of the former. According to Synergy Sports (subscription required), Aldridge allows 0.33 and 0.19 fewer points per possession against roll men in pick-and-roll sets and spot-up shooters, respectively. He also gives up 0.06 fewer overall."

However, despite Aldridge's many successes and the Blazers' stunning 22-5 start, the big man still isn't getting the credit he deserves from the fans. 

When the league's first All-Star Game returns were released on Dec. 12, Aldridge ranked eighth among all frontcourt players, behind names like Pau Gasol and Tim Duncan.