The Portland Trail Blazers haven’t exactly been blessed with a ton of a luck when it comes to draft picks. The news of Brandon Roy’s retirement was a crushing blow to the Trail Blazers and Greg Oden obviously hasn’t been able to stay healthy and live up to his No. 1 draft pick status. Despite all the short comings, LaMarcus Aldridge is confident that Portland can find the necessary chemistry to become an elite team in the Western Conference. The power forward is already averaging 24.5 points a game this season, making the argument that he is indeed an NBA star. LaMarcus Aldridge joined ESPN Radio with The Scott Van Pelt Show with Ryen Russillo to discuss whether he feels he’s achieved the status of being an elite star in the NBA, Brandon Roy retiring due to injury, the possibility of Roy returning next season, the status of Greg Oden this season and where he believes the Portland Trail Blazers will finish this season in the Western Conference.
Do you think you have broken into that status as one of the stars in the NBA?
“I don’t think so. I think there are still people who have doubts about me. I think a lot of coaches have definitely showed me respect over the last two years by double teams and the way they have played me during the game. I don’t think I have made that status yet. Thanks though.”
How did you deal with the news that Brandon Roy was retiring due to injury?
“I didn’t believe it honestly. I thought that it was something he was thinking about, but he hadn’t made up his mind on. I wanted to practice the next day, but they said it was serious. I called him right after that moment and we talked for awhile. He just felt it was the best thing to do for his health and his family. I definitely took it kind of hard because we came in together and we both had this goal to change around a team that had won 21 games and make this back to “Rip City,” and we did that together and not to have him here is tough.”
Is Brandon Roy still holding out hope to come back next year, but not with the Portland Trail Blazers?
“Honestly I couldn’t say that. We didn’t really talk about that. He just told me that he was really going to retire and that he wasn’t feeling great at that moment. If I tried to answer that question I’d be lying.”
Greg Oden? Any chance we see him soon? What is his timeline?
“I can’t say exact, but I did talk to him. He’s definitely feeling better. Rehab is going really, really well. He’s been light jogging – doing a little bit of running – a little bit of court work, so I think if things stay the course we could see him at the end of the season.”
Where do you see the Portland Trail Blazers when this season is over in the Western Conference?
“I definitely see us finishing in the top two [of the Western Conference]. I feel like if we can keep growing as a team, keep finding chemistry offensively as we do have new pieces. I think if we keep growing and we keep working hard, we have a chance to finish first. We feel like we can play with any team. We have the pieces and players to compete with anyone this year. We definitely are not trying to short hand ourselves and say we can’t finish first. I think a lot of the critics say we are definitely not going to finish first. We feel like if we go out together and play hard…we feel like we can then we have a chance to.”