Aldridge and Crawford talk about coaches new and old
The roster may have been blown up. But the team still has its chin up.
At least that was the front put on during Tuesday’s shootaround before the Trail Blazers host the Bucks.
LaMarcus Aldridge and Jamal Crawford each said that the collective goal is to make the postseason for a fourth straight year despite the two front-court starters.
“I don’t want to devalue anyone. We lost two bigs. Gerald (Wallace) played the 4 for us and (Marcus) Camby played the 5, but I think we’re good still,” Aldridge said. “I think guys are playing better now. Anything is possible.”
Tonight, Portland will play its first game in the Rose Garden in more than two weeks, hosting a Milwaukee team that has won five straight games and is fighting for a playoff berth. It will also mark the first game in which the Blazers have access to new acquisitions Hasheem Thabeet and Jonny Flynn, who were traded from Houston.
Interim coach Kaleb Canales said that, based on the fact that he has only had one shootaround to try and acclimate the new players, he is unsure as to whether they will see the court tonight. But that doesn’t mean Blazer fans won’t see other changes on the floor.
One X’s and O’s point that Aldridge been particularly enthusiastic about is the fact that Canales is allowing him to get more touches from the elbow. Aldridge feels very capable from that point on the floor, but didn’t get to play there as often as he’d like while Nate McMillan was in charge.
But LaMarcus said that his work with Canales over the summer gave Kaleb exposure to his ability from the elbow, which was ultimately parlayed into more touches. When Canales, who is a foot shorter than Aldridge, was asked why he is allowing LaMarcus to work from the elbow, he said “I’ve guarded him there a lot.”
Crawford shared Aldridge’s optimism for the future and joined him in supporting Canales in his new role. Crawford said that he doesn’t “think anybody deserves it more” than Kaleb, and was clearly impressed with his new head coach’s preparation.
But it appears as though Crawford is still on good terms with his old coach. Asked if he spoke with McMillan after his firing, Crawford said he shared a very pleasant, “classy” conversation with Nate.
“He said that he sees me being a leader here and me being here a long time,” Crawford said. “He said that I had a lot of talent and and can help lead this team.”