All in for Aldridge

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Ihmoud's Moods

By Media Relations Editor

The 2006 NBA draft still haunts me, and the nightmares have been recently revived because of Portland Trail Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge’s outstanding play during the first two games of the Western Conference playoffs.

Aldridge the player who the Bulls traded immediately after drafting, and the Trail Blazers have been overlooked for far too long. On April 25 the team members headed back to their home court with a 2–0 series lead over the Houston Rockets. Aldridge has averaged 44.5 points per game during the playoffs as of press time, and all I can think about is what would have happened if the Bulls didn’t give the prolific athlete away for next to nothing in return.

No one can truly be sure, but with the Bulls down 0–2 in their own series against the Washington Wizards, fans can only wonder how the Bulls found themselves in this predicament.

The Bulls traded Aldridge, the No. 2 overall pick, to the Trail Blazers for power forward Tyrus Thomas, the No. 4 overall pick of the 2006 draft, and forward Viktor Khryapa. Khryapa’s NBA career ended after playing 41 games during two seasons for the Bulls, while Tyrus Thomas failed to live up to expectations.

Thomas spent his first four seasons with the Bulls before the organization finally traded him to the Charlotte Bobcats in the middle of the 2009–2010 season.

Aldridge, on the other hand, has flourished. Following his rookie year, he averaged more than 17 points a season and has continued to progress. His points and rebounds have increased and this season’s 23 points and 11 rebounds per game are a career best.

He isn’t the best player at his position, but he shouldn’t be ignored. Aldridge will threaten elite power forwards around the league for top-dawg and no one should be surprised when he surpasses his peers. He may not lead the Trail Blazers to an NBA title during this post-season run, but he will grab everyone’s attention, especially during the rest of the Western Conference playoffs.

The Trail Blazers are a team that can do damage to a title contender’s hopes and dreams. So far, they’re doing just that to the Houston Rockets.

Since the Bulls’ horrific trade in 2006, the organization has bounced back somewhat but still lacks a dependable scorer. Aldridge may have been Chicago’s missing piece to the puzzle, but instead, he’s Portland’s best card in the deck.

Listen to Nader Ihmoud as he hosts The Benchwarmers Show every Monday from 7–9 p.m. on WCRX 88.1 FM.