PORTLAND -- LaMarcus Aldridge is direct: He really wants to be an All-Star and he feels he's played well enough to deserve it.
But in the same breath, the Trail Blazers forward says what's ultimately more important is his team's success as a whole.
Aldridge's conflict -- striking the delicate balance between humility and bravado -- shows how he's matured since he arrived in Portland nearly six years ago. He's gone from the soft-spoken rookie from Texas playing in Brandon Roy's shadow to the confident and consistent leader of the Blazers.
Aldridge is averaging 22.8 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists, putting him among the top players in the league. He is a candidate for the U.S. team that will play in the London Olympics this summer. But, so far, an All-Star nod has eluded him.