It seems fairly obvious to everyone that LaMarcus Aldridge is already the proverbial “man” in Rip City (and was that even before Brandon Roy retired), but the star forward feels as though he must start truly proving himself this season. From the Oregonian: “It is how the mind of this 26-year-old works. He uses slights — real or perceived — to motivate himself. It has been an effective tool for the 6-foot-11 Aldridge, who has blended his unique skill set of speed, length and shooting touch with power and determination to become the Blazers’ franchise player and one of the best power forwards in the NBA. But as he embarks on this newest era in Blazers history — one in which the unquestioned best player is no longer named Brandon Roy, Zach Randolph or Rasheed Wallace — Aldridge is far from content. Far from thinking he has made it. ‘I still have to prove a lot of people wrong,’ Aldridge said. ‘I still haven’t been an All-Star. I still haven’t led this team to the second round of the playoffs. People still doubt that I’m a go-to player. This is the first year, starting from Day 1, that I’m ‘The Man,’ so people are writing us off because Brandon retired. There’s a lot that motivates me’ [...] ‘The difference between being The Man and the second option is day and night: You win, they are happy you led. You lose, it’s your fault,’ Aldridge said. ‘Just like (Wednesday) night, I felt that was my fault. I should have made the game-winning shot. But that comes with growing, and it comes with getting better.’”