Mid-Range Monday: LaMarcus Aldridge

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Apr 30, 2016; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs power forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) shoots the ball over Oklahoma City Thunder power forward Serge Ibaka (9) in game one of the second round of the NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

With the three ball being so popular and analytics telling you the mid-range jumper is a bad shot, the mid-range game is nearly extinct so the Basketball Society will be bringing you “Mid-Range Mondays” where we highlight players who perfected operating in the mid-range area. Check out last week’s edition that featured Tim Duncan!

LaMarcus Aldridge is one of the most talented bigs that we have in the NBA today. He’s often overlooked in the discussion because he doesn’t necessarily provide highlights and he has a very mellow personality, but when it comes to his overall game, he’s high up there in the discussion. His skill set is highly diverse which allows him to adapt to how defenses are playing him. Early on, Aldridge realized what direction the league was heading, which in return made him master his mid-range touch which he explained in an interview via Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report:

“Most teams feel like the mid-range is a bad shot, but …

Because they want you to shoot that, it’s like why not master the shot they want to give up? That’s what I’ve done.

Our philosophy on our team is don’t give up any threes and any rim shots, so we give up mid-range shots. So it’s like a bad shot, but it’s not to me. I feel like the coaches that I’ve had have done a really good job of working around my skill set and letting me shoot that shot. Every summer getting up reps, fine-tuning my shot and just getting more comfortable with it has made it better every year.”

Perfecting that mid-range shot was a great decision because it has produced him and his team a bunch of points throughout his 10 year career. The pick and pops have been his bread and butter but that’s not all that he’s capable of.

LaMarcus Aldridge shot chart
LaMarcus Aldridge’s shot chart and percentages via Vorped

LaMarcus Aldridge’s turn-around jumper is damn near impossible to stop. He uses his body to create space in between himself and the defender and when you add to the height of his release, you just have to pray that he’s going to miss. The efficiency of his shooting is all you can ask for in your star player. Looking at his shooting chart above, he shoots the ball at a 50% clip and it’s only going to get better as he gets more adapted and comfortable in the San Antonio offense. Tim Duncan may be retiring and Dirk Nowitzki may be at the end of his career but their styles of play will live on through LaMarcus Aldridge.

Here’s a clip of Aldridge putting in work during his first season with the San Antonio Spurs.

 

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