Portland Trail Blazers forward and team captain LaMarcus Aldridge spoke with Scott Van Pelt on ESPN Radio about Brandon Roy, Greg Oden and where Aldridge thinks the Blazers will place in the Western Conference. Van Pelt is an easy interview, his knowledge for the game always shining through, despite having to ask about injury after injury. I am certain Aldridge is tired of answering injury questions, but as always, he handled them with poise and class. He then went on to display a level of confidence I have not heard from him, I think, ever. He said he wants to be a leader. I think he’s getting a hold on what that means both on and off the court.
I like this attitude from Aldridge; I like it a lot.
Full transcript with edited questions below:
Roster has had so many changes and so much promise in the past, how have you dealt with all the changes and moves?
By having guys that are always ready to play, having guys that are hungry to get out there and play… I think we have so many weapons over the last three years, we’ve had so many guys that can play and can make plays and stepped up and played big minutes… We have had guys that can weather the storm… So, you know.
How has the Brandon Roy situation been?
I didn’t believe it at first. I thought that it was something he was thinking about that he hadn’t made up his mind about. I went to practice the next day and they said it was serious. I called him after that moment and we talked for a while. He said that he had to do it for his health and his family, I took it hard. … We had a goal to change this team from 21 wins to Rip City and we did that together. So it’s hard.
He didn’t say anything about [coming back in the future]. He told me he was gonna retire, and he wasnt feeling great at that moment.
How many power forwards are ahead of you right now in the league?
I don’t read newspapers or anything like that, I just try to go out there every night and try and be all that I can be for the Trail Blazers… I just want to be more of a leader and be that go to guy down the stretch.
How was the game last night?
It was tough, in first half they had everything going, were really clicking on all cylinders… 2nd half we definitely tried to pick up on defense and we definitely tried to make things a little tougher on them and disrupt their rhythm and… they had guys trying to take tough shots, so we could get the win.
On Greg Oden:
He’s feeling better, rehab is going really well, he’s doing a little light jogging and little running… We could see him mid to end of the season.
Where are Blazers in the Western Conference?
I definitely see us finishing top two (in West). I feel like if we keep growing and we keep working hard we have the chance to finish first. We can play with any team, we have the pieces and the players to compete with anyone, we can’t be short handed, we feel like if we go out and play together and play hard we know we can (make it #1 in the West).