OKC Thunder: Who is better for the Thunder — Serge Ibaka or LaMarcus Aldridge?

Take Ibaka all the way. Despite his shortcomings, Ibaka is still younger, cheaper and more battle tested than Aldridge.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: August 25, 2013
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photo - Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) is fouled by Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka (9) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki) ORG XMIT: OKSO103
Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) is fouled by Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka (9) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki) ORG XMIT: OKSO103

There's also this fallacy that Aldridge is a great low-post scorer, or at least the presence OKC needs. In reality, he's just as much of a jump shooter as Ibaka.

According to nba.com/stats, only 35 percent of Aldridge's offense originates from within eight feet. From that same distance, Ibaka's rate is 46 percent. Meanwhile, Aldridge attempts 43.4 percent of his shots from 15 to 24 feet. Ibaka's percentage of attempts from that distance is 41.6 percent.

The Aldridge you see in Portland simply couldn't be the same Aldridge with the Thunder.

But Ibaka, so far at least, has been willing and able to sacrifice and play his role. That role includes some important defense that, while far from perfect, still gives the Thunder an interior presence and an intimidator that Aldridge is not.

Aldridge also isn't a consistent rebounder. His 9.1 rebounds per game this season were a career high and marked the first time he's averaged more than eight rebounds. So the Thunder wouldn't necessarily be upgrading there either.

Aldridge is a far superior passer and much more adept at creating for himself, and both of those skills would add a scary dynamic to the Thunder's offense.

But with Aldridge's higher price tag, his drop off on defense, his lack of postseason experience and his need to be the primary option, the Thunder is better off continuing with Ibaka.

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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