LaMarcus Aldridge has adjusted to a new playing style since signing with the San Antonio Spurs, but the off-court differences might be a bigger change for the All-Star power forward.
Per ESPN’s Michael C. Wright, Aldridge described the differences between his new home and the team with which he played nine seasons, the Portland Trail Blazers.
“It’s a family. You feel the family type of atmosphere here right away. I’ve done more team dinners in this first part of the season than I’ve done in most of my seasons in the NBA put together. We’ve done team dinners, and I’ve hung out with guys more than I’ve ever done in my career.”
The Spurs certainly give off the aura of being one of the NBA’s tightest-knit rosters. Players regularly post on social media pictures showing team dinners or gatherings. That’s not an overly common thing around the league.
While the off-court transitions are worth mentioning, the basketball changes are what fans care about the most.
Aldridge wasn’t necessarily a selfish player in Portland, but the offense certainly ran through him. He dominated the left side of the court and rarely looked for the extra pass.
In San Antonio, he’s joined a ball-movement oriented offense—though to an admittedly lesser degree than recent seasons—that will undergo various adjustments throughout the season. Aldridge was a volume shooter for the Blazers but is working on becoming a selective shooter with the Spurs.
Wright notes head coach Gregg Popovich said he’s simply observing Aldridge right now instead of over-coaching a player who is tasked with adapting to a new system anyway.
Once Aldridge finds that comfortable place at the San Antonio table, his next goal will be to join the family business: winning championships.