Aldridge, Batum stepping into leadership role for Portland

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A few years ago, there was no doubt that the Portland Trail Blazers were Brandon Roy’s team. Then his knees happened. Now we are all rooting for him to make a comeback in Minnesota that sticks.

And now other guys are stepping up to lead in Portland.

New Blazers GM Neil Olshey was talking on KGW Sports Sunday in Portland (Ben Golliver at Blazers Edge gave us the transcription) and he discussed guys stepping up to be leaders. Specifically LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum.

LaMarcus did a great job, he’s a real leader. He’s the one who orchestrated these voluntary offseason workouts so I’m excited about him kind of taking over the locker room and being a solid voice of leadership for the young guys….

When we met with Nic prior to him signing it, that was something he really wanted. He wanted to embrace being one of the leaders on the team. Having more responsibility on both ends of the ball.

Aldridge — the Blazers lone All-Star and best player — needs to be the leader. And he was stepping into that role last year.

Batum just got a massive new deal, with Portland matching his four-year. $46 million offer sheet from Minnesota. With that money and with his place as the best wing player on this team, he does need to step up. Rookie Damian Lillard is going to have the rock at the point, but Batum needs to set the tone working off the ball on offense and locking guys down on defense. He needs to step into that role.

If these two lead, you can start to see a path to a lot of success for Portland.