Trend Watch: Aldridge plays small

The Trail Blazers need power forward LaMarcus Aldridge to play more like a big man. Sam Forencich/NBAE/Getty Images

Editor's Note: This is the debut installment of a weekly series that identifies and analyzes tendencies or trends exhibited by five players.

From the moment a player walks on the NBA court for the first time, his game is being closely critiqued. Can he put the ball on the floor? Does he have a NBA-caliber jumper? Is he athletic and tall enough for his position? Is he a leader with a high basketball IQ? Does he take pride on the defensive end of the court? Can he be relied upon with the pressure on?

The beauty is that in time, his play on the court largely answers all of these questions; his weaknesses, his strengths, his upside and the chances he reaches it. The tough part for every player, then, becomes breaking out of that box, changing expectations and reestablishing himself with what one might call a new "basketball DNA."

Already in this young NBA season, we're seeing some established players whose games are changing right before our very eyes -- for better or worse. Today, let's examine five of those players and see how our expectations of them should change.