Here’s a statistical look at how Aldridge fits with each of the seven teams, presented in the order he is meeting with them:
Los Angeles Lakers
Aldridge is a devastating force on the offensive block, ranking second in the NBA last season in points per game on post-ups.
He would give the Lakers a sorely needed post scorer; they ranked 12th in post-up scoring last season. Aldridge alone nearly averaged as many post-up points per game (8.4) as the entire Lakers team (8.7).
The Lakers’ numbers likely would have been higher had they had the services of Julius Randle, the seventh pick in the 2014 NBA draft, who broke a leg in the season opener.
Last season, Aldridge was the same age as Gasol was in the 2009-10 season, when the Lakers last won the NBA title. Their player efficiency ratings from those seasons were nearly identical.
Although Aldridge posted gaudier scoring numbers, he did it while shouldering a heavier burden as evidenced by a usage percentage nearly nine points higher than Gasol’s. Aldridge averaged more points per play in both post-up and pick-and pop situations last season than Gasol did in 2009-10.
Aldridge is not only a monster on the block, but he’s also the NBA’s most dangerous midrange player and one of the best pick-and-pop big men in the NBA.
The Rockets had essentially zero pick-and-pop presence last season, averaging less than one attempt per game. Twenty-eight of the other 29 NBA teams had at least twice as many pick-and-pop attempts in 2014-15. Aldridge would provide James Harden a different type of pick-and-roll partner than the rim-crashing Dwight Howard.
Thanks in part to an analytics-informed front office, Houston has essentially shunned midrange shots. The Rockets averaged fewer than nine midrange shots and scored fewer than six points on midrange shots, both last in the NBA by a considerable amount.
Over the past 20 years, two teams have averaged fewer than 10 midrange shots per game. Those teams? The 2013-14 Rockets and 2014-15 Rockets.
Signing Aldridge would be a shift in philosophy. He has led the NBA in points on midrange shots each of the past three seasons and has outscored the next-closest player, Dirk Nowitzki, by 360 points over that span.
San Antonio Spurs
Aldridge is the only player in the NBA who averaged 23 points and 10 rebounds in each of the last two seasons. Aldridge would be the best big man Tim Duncan has played with since David Robinson, who was the last teammate of Duncan’s to average 20 points and 10 rebounds, doing so in Duncan’s rookie season in 1997-98.
Although Duncan was an All-NBA selection at the age of 38 -- something only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has achieved -- Duncan can’t do it every night. On the second night of back-to-back games last season, Duncan averaged 12.5 points and 8.1 rebounds and played just less than 27 minutes.
Aldridge averaged 22 points and almost 10 rebounds in 35 minutes a game on no day’s rest. Signing Aldridge would allow the Spurs to rest Duncan more, keeping him fresher for a postseason run while suffering no drop-off in production.
If the Suns were to sign Aldridge, he would give them a post presence they’ve lacked since Amar’e Stoudemire left for the New York Knicks.
Phoenix ranked among the bottom 10 last season in post-up points and attempts. Aldridge wouldn’t have to play center, as the Suns have 7-foot-1 Alex Len, the fifth pick in the 2013 draft, whose block rate and defensive rebound rate jumped last season.
For a team that’s likely to deploy two point guards at once in Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight, the Suns lack big men who can help in the pick-and-roll game. Phoenix ranked 26th last season in points per game by big men in the pick-and-roll. Among teams that missed the playoffs, only the Philadelphia 76ers received less production from its big men in the pick-and-roll department.
In San Antonio, Aldridge would be going to a team where, it could be argued, Kawhi Leonard has been given the reins as the franchise’s next cornerstorne.
In Dallas, Aldridge would be that guy as Nowitzki enters his 18th season and has hinted as recently as this past spring that he would be willing to accept a sixth-man role.
Although not the three-point shooter that Nowitzki has been throughout his career, Aldridge would step into a system that has featured a player (Nowitzki) who has made his bread and butter in that midrange, where Aldridge excels.
Since Rick Carlisle took over as coach in 2008-09, three teams have scored more points on midrange shots than the Mavericks. Over that same span, no player has averaged more points per game on midrange shots than Nowitzki. Next on that list? Aldrige.
With Nowitzki’s help, could Aldridge continue to add the 3-pointer to his arsenal? After taking no more than 15 3-point shots in any of the previous three seasons, Aldridge last season took 105 of them and shot 35 percent, a career high.
As Nowitzki has climbed in age, the Mavericks have dropped in post scoring. Four seasons removed from ranking eighth in points per game on post-ups, the Mavericks ranked 22nd this past season. Adding Aldridge would certainly provide a boost on the block.
The Raptors, driven by an All-Star backcourt of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan along with reigning Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams, would be an interesting fit. Lowry and DeRozan are on the books for at least another two seasons, whereas Williams is an unrestricted free agent.
Toronto’s starting power forwards combined to average 9.6 points and 6.0 rebounds per game last season, and they have struggled since Chris Bosh left for Miami in the summer of 2010. The 9.6 points per game ranked 26th in the NBA, last among all playoff teams.
Like in Phoenix, Aldridge wouldn’t have to play center, as the Raptors have Jonas Valanciunas, the No. 5 draft selection in 2011. Toronto is similar to Houston in that it could use Aldridge’s help in the pick-and-pop game. Only the Rockets scored fewer points in pick-and-pop situations than the Raptors last season.
New York Knicks
The final team Aldridge is scheduled to meet with is the Knicks. During the draft, ESPN analyst Jalen Rose listed the Knicks’ team needs as “everything.”
An accomplished low-post scorer would be a great place to start as the Knicks averaged 33.4 points in the paint, last in the NBA and the fewest the Knicks have averaged in a season in more than a decade. New York shot 50.2 percent on shots in the paint, better than only the 76ers, Charlotte Hornets and Detroit Pistons.
The Knicks didn’t get much help on the glass from their front line, either, as their starting power forwards and centers combined for 11.3 rebounds per game, last in the NBA.