Al-Farouq Aminu has had an interesting NBA career, that's for sure. The Los Angeles Clippers selected Aminu with the 8th pick of the 2010 Draft and since then he has played for three NBA teams. Some were labeling Aminu a bust but after his last stop in Dallas, but Aminu began to demonstrate why the Clippers chose him in the lottery and why Portland Trail Blazers fans have a reason to be excited about the future.
Let's begin by visiting his career stats.
On the surface the numbers don't give you an optimistic outlook, do they? Aminu's numbers dropped in 2015 but then so did his minutes. We saw a good but not great 45 percent shooting percentage and an average 71 percent free throw shooting percentage. His 27 percent three point average doesn't exactly scream out at us, does it? His shot chart below isn't exactly the stuff legends are made of either.
Shot charts don't lie and this isn't a pretty shot chart by any stretch of the imagination. He can hit the left corner three at a good 41 percent clip but isn't consistent enough to count on. He's a proven finisher as evidenced by his 62 percent makes at or near the rim and outside of that corner three it's at the rim where Aminu will do the most damage.
Evans Clinchy described for us what Aminu brings in the transition so no point in belaboring that other than to show you this video.
As appealing as that video is, what leads me to be optimistic about Aminu is how he performed in the playoffs when he stepped in for an injured Chandler Parsons.
This is what NBA pundits have been waiting for with Aminu. When given 30 minutes a night Aminu gave the NBA a glimpse of what he is able to do when given the opportunity to play and these numbers are close to what we can expect from his PER 36 minutes.
While these numbers are encouraging what really stands out to me is his defense. Aminu is an above average defender with an incredible 7-foot-3 foot wingspan and great athleticism. It's difficult to find any Aminu highlight reel without there being several defensive plays involved. A player had better be an elite scorer otherwise more than likely he's getting shutdown that night.
Aminu has his flaws but it will be plays like this that have Trail Blazers fans on their feet this season at the Moda Center!
2015-16 Fantasy Basketball Projection
Portland is a young rebuilding team and like any other rebuilding team young players are going to get opportunities to prove they can contribute to the team. The minutes and rotations are hardly set in stone and Aminu is no exception.
Fantasy-wise, Aminu was owned in roughly 60 percent of all major Fantasy Basketball leagues. Despite playing only 18 minutes a night he was a good source for rebounds, steals, blocks and the occasional three pointer.
Throughout Aminu's brief NBA career he's had to fight for minutes and the 2015-16 season will be no exception. This season he'll be fighting for minutes with Moe Harkless, Allen Crabbe and possibly Mike Miller. He isn't the best offensive option of the quartet but he is the best defensively.
Logjam notwithstanding, I do see Aminu getting 25 minutes a night and maybe more. His offense is a work in progress but with PG Damian Lillard being forced to be on the floor for most of the game the Trail Blazers will need their best defenders alongside him and Aminu is the best defender the Trail Blazers have at small forward.
Aminu is worthy of your Fantasy Basketball consideration in any format. He'll be around in the later rounds of your draft so if you need rebounds, steals and blocks then by all means draft him.
On this week's Phil's Fantasy Sports we talk about the Fantasy Basketball value of LaMarcus Aldridge, Wesley Matthews, Deron Williams, Monta Ellis, Rajon Rondo and more as well as NHL defensemen, strategy for streaming starting pitching, top Fantasy Football running backs and much more. You can download the show from my site or listen below.