What is LaMarcus Aldridge's NBA legacy?
Aldridge's 15-year career came to an unexpected, abrupt ending Thursday when he announced his retirement after experiencing an irregular heartbeat on the court during his final game on Saturday. At 35, Aldridge is stepping away from the game just after signing with the Brooklyn Nets on the buyout market.
What has Aldridge accomplished during his NBA career? And what does his retirement mean for the Nets, who are favored to win the Eastern Conference? Let's take a look.
Key part of Blazers' resurgence
Aldridge will surely be most remembered for his time with the Portland Trail Blazers, who moved up two spots on draft night in 2006 to add him with the No. 2 overall pick. In a lottery littered with washouts during the first draft with the current age limit, Aldridge and fellow Blazers addition Brandon Roy (No. 6) stand out as highlights.
The two draft picks arrived in Portland during a low point in the city's love affair with the Blazers, whose 21 wins in 2005-06 were their fewest since the franchise's first two seasons as an expansion team. In the wake of the breakup of the high-payroll Portland teams in the early 2000s, the city was ready for a new, homegrown squad.
Although Roy (the league's Rookie of the Year in 2006-07) was quicker to develop and Greg Oden (who joined them as the No. 1 overall pick a year later) was more hyped, it was Aldridge who was able to avoid injuries and last with the Blazers. He was the lone Portland player from the rebuild left when Damian Lillard arrived in 2012; together they led the 2013-14 Blazers to the franchise's first playoff series win since 2000.