Former first overall selection Greg Oden was finally healthy again and ready to get rid of the "bust" tag he recently obtained after an injury-filled start to his career.
The roster also included veteran rebounding extraordinaire Marcus Camby, Spanish sensation Rudy Fernandez, breakout performers Wes Matthews, Nicolas Batum and Patty Mills and a host of veterans including Joel Przybilla and Andre Miller.
They started the season 3-0 and winning six out of their first ten, which is good considering that they play in the wild, wild Western Conference.
But just as they were finding their groove, the injury bug hit. And it went for the knees.
First, Greg Oden went down with a bad knee. Then superstar Brandon Roy. Then thoughts of "oh no, there goes are season" began to creep into the Rose Garden. Could a team's luck get any worse?
Well, it can in Portland.
On January 28th, defensive team leader Marcus Camby went down with, yes, a knee injury.
All seemed to be lost in the city of roses.
Enter LaMarcus Aldridge.
Aldridge, aka L-Train, began to carry the load for the banged up Blazers team.
It was not the same situation as LeBron James in Cleveland, where he had nobody around him, because Aldridge had some help.
Wes Matthews stepped up, along with Andre Miller and a host of others off the Blazers bench.
But it was L-Train that kept the Blazers' season on track.
A potential 20 and 10 man every night, Aldridge seemed to be earning a trip to la la land to represent the Western Conference this February. He even started to make me consider him for league MVP.
So last Thursday, I sat in front of the TV patiently waiting for Ernie Johnson to announce that LaMarcus had been chosen as an All-Star reserve.
I waited, but L.A. was not called. This turned my stomach.
Yes, I agree Kevin Love should be there and now he is. But why isn't LaMarcus there?
OK, maybe this can be justified, this is the Western Conference we are talking about.
I mean, you've got Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Kevin Durant, the list goes on and on. Maybe there are 12 players more deserving.
Lets take a look at the roster, shall we?
Starters: Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant and Yao Ming.
No problems there. knowing that Yao will be replaced.
- Blake Griffin
- Tim Duncan
- Manu Ginobili
- Kevin Love
- Dirk Nowitzki
- Russell Westbrook
- Deron Williams
- Pau Gasol
All worthy selections. Except for one. Lakers forward Pau Gasol.
Are you kidding me, NBA? I can understand he is a fan favorite, but this is an ALL-STAR team. Gasol is not having the year Aldridge is.
Gasol can be an All-Star. If the team was 15, he would be there. But the team has 12 spots. One of them belonged to LaMarcus Aldridge. Until it was stolen by the NBA.
This begs the question: what is the definition of All-Star?
According to the NBA, averaging 21.2 ppg, 9.1 rpg and 2.0 apg, while at the same time keeping a franchise in the playoff hunt does not meet criteria.
The Blazers are fighting for their lives out west without three of their top scorers. I don't get it. How can you snub Aldridge for somebody averaging 18.4 ppg and 10.5 rpg?
Yes, these are respectable numbers, but without Gasol, the Lakers would still be star-studded and a threat in the west.
Why don't we try taking Aldridge out of Portland. I doubt they would win half of their remaining games.
Bottom line, an All-Star should be selected not only on his play, but on the value he presents to his respected team.
LaMarcus Aldridge not only has the numbers worthy of an All-Star selection, but he has carried the Blazers close to a playoff position.
Maybe if he had a Lakers jersey on, he would be selected.