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Buckley: Al-Farouq Aminu Is Portland’s Playoff X-Factor

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Al-Farouq Aminu’s offense could give the Blazers a significant edge against the Pelicans.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at New Orleans Pelicans Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Al-Farouq Aminu will be tasked with slowing down Anthony Davis in the Portland Trail Blazers’ opening NBA Playoffs matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans, but his ability to impact the game on the offensive side of the ball could prove to be a valuable asset in the series. Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report outlined the potential X-Factor for each playoff team, and Aminu was awarded the label for Portland.

Buckley highlighted Aminu’s ability to impact the Blazers’ offense by hitting opportune three-pointers:

Al-Farouq Aminu, though, can transform the Trail Blazers into something greater than normal when he’s lighting the lamp from three.

That’s not his primary function, of course, as his biggest contributions are made in rebounding and defensive versatility. It’s a no-frills game, but the stat sheet says it’s vital. Only Lillard has a wider on/off split than Aminu (plus-4.4 on the court, minus-1.0 off).

But Portland almost always capitalizes on his active-offense nights. The Blazers are 20-10 when Aminu scores in double figures, while he’s a much better shooter in wins (41.9 from the field, 39.4 from three) than losses (36.3/33.8). His outside shot serves as Portland’s skeleton key, unlocking myriad frontcourt combinations when it’s finding its mark.

Aminu enjoyed a career year from beyond the arc in regards to his three-point shooting percentage, but he struggled mightily in Portland’s final push for the playoffs. The 27-year-old veteran shot 36.9 percent from the three-point line on the season, which is a far better number than his 26.7 percent conversion rate in the Blazers’ last six games.

You can find Buckley’s complete list of NBA Playoff X-Factors by visiting Bleacher Report.