There’s no question that LaMarcus Aldridge has been a major reason for the San Antonio Spurs’ success this season. Even with Kawhi Leonard missing all but nine games this year, the Spurs are still tied for the fourth-best record in the Western Conference at 45-33. Aldridge’s play has been key, particularly his excellent production in post-up situations, which has become somewhat of a rarity in today’s NBA.
While many teams have moved away from posting up, Aldridge continues to use this offense to his advantage. Steve Kerr commented on how good Aldridge has looked near the basket this season (via Mercury News):
“He’s been dominant. He’s one of the best low-post players in the league. It’s a dying breed.”
Among those with at least 100 possessions on this play type, only five players (including Cleveland’s LeBron James and Minnesota’s Karl–Anthony Towns) have been more efficient than Aldridge.
Aldridge has averaged 1.00 point per possession when posting up for San Antonio. While he excelled in the post during his first year with the Spurs (0.99 PPP), his stats dropped off significantly last season (0.86 PPP). However, he’s back to thriving down low this year.
Aldridge has posted up more often (43.4 percent frequency) than any other player in the league so far this season.
Only seven players in the NBA have had 300 or more post-up possessions. Aldridge, meanwhile, has already had 669 – which is more opportunities than Towns and Anthony Davis combined.
Scott Rafferty observed the trend in a recent profile about the 2018 Western Conference All-Star (via FanSided):
“After averaging 12.5 post-ups per game in his final season with the Trail Blazers, Aldridge averaged 8.0 post-ups per game in his first season with the Spurs and 10.1 post-ups per game in his second season under [Gregg] Popovich.”
It’s no surprise that the Spurs post up more often (11.5 percent frequency) than any other team in the NBA.
Even when Aldridge himself does not score on post-up plays, he has been very good at distributing as well. Katie Nelson wrote about this part of his skill set (via Hashtag Basketball):
“The All-Star has a diverse array of post moves that keep defenses questioning what he’s going to do next … Aldridge doesn’t just use his post moves for scoring, however. He is also talented at setting up his teammates from down low. Because he is such a huge threat close to the basket, he often draws a double team.”
Players are shooting 84-of-168 (50.0 percent) after passes from Aldridge when he is posting up, averaging 1.22 PPP. This ranks No. 7 overall among those with at least 40 possessions, per Synergy Sports.
Aldridge leads the team in usage rate and his go-to move has helped the Spurs remain one of the best teams in the West.