In this space we'll break down the best individual matchup of the week to see who's the better player. But toss out career accomplishments or potential. This is about ability -- strengths, weaknesses, intangibles -- and who gives his team the best chance to win. It's about the only thing that matters when you step on the court on any given night -- who's better right now.
They may never be one-name superstars, but LaMarcus Aldridge and Al Horford are among a small handful of the best power forwards in the league. While Horford plugs perfectly into Atlanta's scheme as a do-it-all complement to Joe Johnson, Aldridge has exceeded expectations after being thrust into the role as the Blazers' go-to star.
Despite a shining résumé Horford isn't mentioned with the game's elite and, residing in a Western Conference crowded with stars, the oft-overlooked Aldridge has been outplaying more heralded opponents all season. Aldridge has given defenses fits with his length and shooting touch while Horford plugs away with no-frills consistency.
So now two soft-spoken, versatile bangers go head-to-head. Both have their teams in the middle of heated playoff races. Horford is the owner of two All-Star appearances. Aldridge has none. But who's actually better?