The Portland Tribune reports
Aldridge lowers his torso, sticks out his derriere and bumps Turiaf’s midsection once, twice, three times as he backs in toward the basket. With Turiaf off-balance, Aldridge floats right for a short, easy hook shot.
It’s a scene that has become commonplace this season as Aldridge has made a startling transition from finesse player to one of the most complete power forwards in the game.
With a suddenly potent inside game, the Dallas native is averaging career highs in scoring (20.4) and rebounds (8.9), with Kevin Love, Dwight Howard and Blake Griffin the only NBA players averaging 20 points and eight rebounds a game.
Lately, Aldridge has really been on a tear. During his past 14 games, he is shooting 53 percent while averaging 26.1 points and 10.8 rebounds. He has 14 20/10 games and 20 double-doubles, including six straight – the first Blazer to accomplish that since Arvydas Sabonis in 1997.
“Aldridge is a totally different player than what we saw last year,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said after the Heat’s overtime victory over the Blazers Sunday night. “He has added so much to his game. He’s so much more aggressive. He put so much pressure on you in the paint.”
Some quotes from his summer coach Bill Bayno
“We saw defenders were crowding him and forcing him to shoot fadeaway ‘J’s,’ ” Bayno says.
In August, they worked two hours a day, five afternoons a week at the Dallas Mavericks’ training facility. The emphasis was on developing a power game, with Aldridge and Bayno spending many hours going one-on-one, Aldridge with the ball and Bayno defending him while wearing arm pads.
“The moves you’re seeing him do this season?” Bayno asks. “He did repetitions vs. the pads at least hundreds of times over those three weeks.”
Aldridge would start on one block, with his back to the basket. Much of the work would be on driving with and finishing with the left hand. Then he’d move to the other block. Same drill. Then Aldridge would face the basket, use the jab step, driving left, drive right.
The back-in move against the Knicks’ Turiaf was something Bayno emphasized in the summer.
“I call them ‘ass hits,’ ” Bayno says. “If you use your shoulder in a post-up back-to-the-basket move, the defender will flop on you and it’s a charge. You have to hit them with your hips and ass. They can’t flop on that.”