LaMarcus Aldridge is kind of a throwback.
In the era of three-point shooting all around, he was the man who built his prolific career around midrange in both high and low positions.
He was always one of the main scorers if not The The go-to top scorer for any team he’s played for, whether it’s in college with his native Texas Longhorns or in Portland or San Antonio in the NBA.
When the seven-time All-Star joined Brooklyn, he knew that wouldn’t be the case, but the 20,000-point mark was still good in his sights, and he earned a 50-point distance from the accomplishment before his life changed hands last April. He suffered an in-game cardiac event which was followed by devastating news that he was retiring from the NBA due to an arrhythmia.
It seemed like a sad and sudden end to a very wonderful career. But his luck turned around in September after his doctors allowed him to play again.
Back to the Brooklyn Nets. And on Friday night, with just under two minutes left in the third quarter, Aldridge hit a 22-foot jump to score 20,000 career points. He scored 21 points on 10 of 16 in Brooklyn’s 105-98 win over Indiana in 28 minutes of excitement.
In achieving the feat, Aldridge became the 48th player in league history and the seventh active player to score 20,000 points, joining LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul.
“It’s a blessing,” Aldridge said after the match. “A real blessing.
“Sure. I didn’t think that would happen after what happened last year. I stuck with it, I fought back and it definitely felt good to get it done.
“Last year has been a crazy year for me, it’s been a long way back and I’m lucky to be here.”
“He has the instincts of a goalscorer,” his teammate Durant said. “(It is) a huge achievement. … (A) a huge milestone.”
In addition to his personal achievement that night, Nets coach Steve Nash was delighted with Aldridge’s role in the team’s victory.
“It was great,” Nash said after the match. “We scored a goal when we needed it but we also stuck to the game plan.
“This was a really important performance and to crown that he went to 20,000 which is an incredible area and a testament to his career.”
For the second time in a week, Aldridge has more than 20 points in less than half an hour off the bench, after managing in Philadelphia against the Sixers last week.
There was a key period in the third quarter of Friday night’s win at Barclays Center where Durant was facilitating the team and Aldridge was the main benefactor, feeding off from mid-range.
The 16-year-old NBA veteran said, “In this day and age, the midrange is a bad shot, I think. But I got 19,000 individual points from the midrange, so he tells me it’s a bad shot, I I do not believe you “.
And though the analytics experts might argue, Aldridge has shown, and continues to show, production to back up his point – and given where he was six months ago, it’s an incredible feat to be back playing at this level.