Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE
One athlete who got lost in all the talk about the James Harden trade is Cole Aldrich. Which was understandable since he only played in 44 games in his first two seasons for the Thunder. He hasn’t shown much to warrant any talk about him. Don’t believe me? The Thunder thought Hasheem Thabeet was a better option than Aldrich. No, I’m not kidding.
Why the Thunder think Thabeet should even be in the NBA I have no idea. I can’t believe they choose him over Alrdrich but I’m glad they did, because the Rockets might have locked up their backup center position.
Aldrich brings a lot of size on the floor when Omer Asik needs a breather. He stands at 6’11 and weighs in at 240 pounds. He just recently turned 24 but is basically still a rookie at this point. I’m not sure what his ceiling is but he is already twice as good as he ever was in Oklahoma.
In the preseason and the first game of the season Greg Smith was the backup center. He showed some potential scoring a bit but not much defensively or rebounding. Aldrich brings a little of everything you want out of a big man.
So far in three games with the Houston Rockets Cole is averaging 4.7 points on 60% shooting and 3.3 rebounds in 14 minutes a game. May not seem like a ton of productivity but outside of Carlos Delfino he’s probably been the second or third best player off the bench so far. And like I said he is still adjusting to his new teammates and actually getting to play.
If Aldrich can average around 5-7 points and 5-6 rebounds a game the Rockets would be very happy with him as their backup. He’s finally getting a legitimate shot to be in an NBA rotation and contribute to his team. I expect him to start producing more and more as he gets more comfortable.