The Trail Blazers’ successful series against the Thunder was fueled by Damian Lillard’s heroics, but the star point guard didn’t do it alone. Along with Lillard, Portland relied on steady contributions from its cast of established role players. Of those role players, nobody is as valuable as Al-Farouq Aminu.
After the conclusion of the 2019 NBA Playoffs, Aminu will join a crowded group of free agents searching for lucrative deals in the summer. Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale recently highlighted the Blazers’ 28-year-old forward and listed him as a player that isn’t receiving enough attention.
According to Favale, Aminu’s less-than-flashy value is generated by the cumbersome defensive assignments he is tasked with on a nightly basis.
Still, Aminu is a difference-maker. The Portland Trail Blazers throw him on the other team’s most dangerous front-line player, almost without exception. His 10-most frequent assignments during the regular season included LeBron James (175 possessions), Kevin Durant (171), Karl-Anthony Towns (134), Paul Millsap (124), Danilo Gallinari (121), Paul George (106) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (90).
Favale continued to praise Aminu’s tough workload while also pointing to his serviceable three-point shooting.
Few specialists can carry this workload. Even fewer can navigate it while missing just one game. That Aminu banged in 35.8 percent of his spot-up threes only inflates his appeal. He’s not a spectacular marksman, but his outside clip has always held or improved into the postseason.
Outside of resting in the Blazers’ season finale against the Kings, Aminu started in every 2018-19 regular season game. He recorded averages of 9.4 points and 7.5 rebounds per game in his fourth season in Portland.
Unlike Enes Kanter’s looming decision, the Blazers will have more flexibility when negotiating a new contract with Aminu.
You can read Favale’s full post at Bleacher Report.