With the insertion of Moe Harkless into the Blazers' starting lineup, fellow first-year Blazer Al-Farouq Aminu has recently seen the majority of his time come at power forward. Statistically, Aminu has been Portland's best power forward this season, and his success at the position has proven vital to an improved starting five.
Per Erik Gundersen of The Columbian, Portland head coach Terry Stotts says it's Aminu's defense and three-point shooting that make him a perfect fit at power forward.
"First of all, defensively, he's very good at the 4. He defends the post well. He rebounds well," Stotts said. "It allows us to switch with a spacing 4 man. Defensively, we've been very solid with him. Offensively, he's enough of a 3-point threat that he does space the court. That threat makes it easier for everybody."
Aminu even hints that playing the four has been easier for him. With Meyers Leonard out for the remainder of the season, Aminu has been used more often as the roll man in pick-and-roll situations, which has given him more open looks. His 20 points in Saturday's win over Philadelphia were a season-high.
According to website Nylon Calculus, Aminu has the best net-rating (+5.0) when playing power forward of anybody else on the Blazers who has played the position - and that was last updated three weeks ago.
If the recent performances of the starting lineup are any indication, those numbers should be even better now.
Is the game easier for Aminu at the 4?
"Sometimes. You know what I mean?" he said. "You only have to run to the corner. Just set a screen and do different things like that. You get involved in the ball screens and things like that. It's a little bit of a learning curve. It's not a new game that you're playing."
The small ball lineups have been effective for the Blazers all season, and Aminu's ability to play power forward is what makes those small ball lineups possible.
Read all of Gundersen's piece, here.