Chris Paul vs. LaMarcus Aldridge: Player of the Decade
This four versus five seed match-up is one this writer thinks is a true toss-up. In one corner we have Chris Paul, considered by many to be one of the best point guards of his generation. His passing and fiery personality struck fear into opponents’ hearts. In the other corner, we have LaMarcus Aldridge. He is considered by many to be one of the best power forwards of his generation. His calm and collected demeanor was not to be messed with, as he could torch you in the mid-range game. With all of that said, who was the better player in this decade?
Pros of Chris Paul
- Best Passer of the Decade: If there is one thing that Chris Paul did better then anyone this decade it is distributing the basketball. Paul led the NBA in assists twice in the decade and averaged more than ten assists per game three times. His lowest total was just under eight assists, which are some point guards’ best year numbers.
- Defensive Steal Monster: If you thought Chris Paul was impressive at passing, he was even better at stealing the basketball. Paul won the steals titles four years in a row from 2011 to 2014. Chris averages over two steals per game in his career and we love players that play both ends of the floor. Huge props to Chris Paul for not taking any possessions off.
- Underrated Scorer: Chris Paul is a distributor and solid defender, but he also scores the ball very well. He consistently averaged close to twenty points and did so efficiently. He shoots around 46% from the field, 37% from three-point land & a career 85%+ free throw shooter. In conclusion, Chris Paul scores consistently and efficiently.
Cons of Chris Paul
- Lacks Playoff Success: Chris Paul made the playoffs often, but he did not make it to the NBA finals. Despite making the playoffs nine times, four of those appearances resulted in a first-round exit. In fact, Chris only made the conference finals once. Paul never lacked help around him and has yet to make it to the NBA finals.
- Not A Team Player: Not being a team player was something Chris Paul is always knocked for. Despite making playoffs most year, Paul constantly had issues with players in Los Angeles and Houston. As a result, Los Angeles and Houston traded Paul, who now finds himself on a rebuilding Thunder team.
- Injury Prone All-Decade: Chris Paul when playing was great, but did he play enough? We think not, as he only 80+ games twice and only 70+ games four times. For a player that does not play an athletic style of game he sure missed plenty of game action.
Pros of LaMarcus Aldridge
- Consistently Solid: LaMarcus Aldridge played over seventy games nearly every year in the 2010s. In addition to playing the majority of games, Aldridge also made the playoffs eight times in the decade. He also made the all-star team seven times in the tough Western Conference. Longevity and consistency explains Aldridge very well.
- Mid-Range Star: LaMarcus Aldridge is incredibly tough to stop in the post and mid-range game. Despite lacking athleticism, Aldridge patterned his game much like the man he replaced in San Antonio Tim Duncan. His turn around jumper and fully-complimented post-game make him a tough cover for any defense.
- Efficient Player All-Around: LaMarcus is not only a good scorer, but he does so at an efficient rate. He is a career eight-rebound guy that also scores at nearly fifty percent in his career. Typically most big men struggle at the free-throw line, but LaMarcus shoots over eighty percent on his career.
Cons of LaMarcus Aldridge
- No Stand-Out Seasons: Despite being consistent, it is hard to find a real stand-out performance or year for Lamarcus Aldridge. His highest scoring year was just twenty-three points and his highest rebounding year was just eleven per game. Being a consistent all-star player is great and all, but he never elevated to true superstar status.
- Never A Team’s Alpha: LaMarcus has always had to share the stage with other players on his team. Point Guards Brandon Roy and Damian Lillard often stole the headlines in Portland. Upon arriving in San Antonio he was always the beta to players like Kawhi Leonard. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride for LaMarcus Aldridge in his career.
- Below Average Defender: Plenty of players in this bracket were solid defenders, but LaMarcus Aldridge was never one of them. One block per game is very average. What is even more average is Aldridge never making an All-NBA Defense. For a player of his caliber, LaMarcus needs to be better defending his fellow power forwards.
For this matchup, it is all about what you as a voter value in an NBA player. On one hand, you have a guy that consistently put up statistics, but was a bad teammate and lacked playoff success. If that is something you value then Chris Paul is your guy. On the other hand, if you value a guy who is steady, but never outstanding. If that is something you value, then LaMarcus Aldridge is your guy. We could see either player advancing, however, our edge goes to Chris Paul. His namesake alone will likely carry him to the second round.
Have some thoughts on this article? Comment below! To see content like this and much more, check out the rest of Overtime Heroics as well as the Overtime Heroics Forums! Keep an eye out for more polls and discussions around our Player of the Decade to come. Also, be sure to follow our Twitter and Instagram accounts @SSBasketballPod and listen to our podcast here.