Cohen’s Analysis: LaMarcus Aldridge was supposed to be Portland’s third option when they started collaborating on their long-term vision a few years ago. The Blazers had a superstar in the making in Brandon Roy and an assumed-to-be eventual dominant big man in Greg Oden.

But injuries derailed that master plan. Oden and Roy’s knees deteriorated rapidly and Aldridge was left as the lone ranger.

Credit to Portland’s front office and player development strategies, they have avoided a complete meltdown and are now one of the best and most exciting teams in the league. Drafting Damian Lillard was a brilliant decision and role players like Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum have blossomed.

But if not for that 2006 draft day deal, Aldridge would be starring for….




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