Friday, May 21, 2010

Aminu is a Forward. Small or Power?

The Chicago Pre-Draft Combine is underway and I am disappointed that Al Farouq Aminu is not participating. I still have major reservations about Aminu as a Small Forward offensively. I believe he can guard SF’s but his offense, seems to me, to be much more suited for Power Forward. If he is just a PF in reality, I view his value lower than if he can be a SF.

It appears without being able to see any proof otherwise that I will continue to believe he is a PF. His value drops as such due to the crowded crop of talented PF’s in the NBA. An example? Let’s take Aminu’s NCAA career Efficiency Rating of .577 and compare that number with the regular season NBA rankings by position. A .577 EFR as a SF would rank 5th in the league at that position behind only LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Corey Maggette, and Carmelo Anthony. However—Aminu’s .579 as a PF would rank 17th at that position. In front of Aminu at PF: Tim Duncan, Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer, David Lee, Pau Gasol, Kevin Love, Amar’e Stoudemire, Dirk Nowitzki, Joakim Noah (if you want to call him a PF), Zach Randolph, Troy Murphy, Al Jefferson, DaJuan Blair, and Al Horford. ...You see the difference?

I have long been a believer in the SF as a three-point threat. Doug Collins stresses this seemingly every telecast he is on. You have to be able to stretch the floor. It is natural for your SF to do this as opposed to your PF, who if shooting a three, is leaving your team more vulnerable losing the rebounding game. Common sense right? Keep the bigger better rebounders closer to the hoop and let the quicker wings do the majority of the three point shooting.

So… Aminu was 25-105 from beyond the college arc at Wake. That is 23.8%. His career free throw number is 68.6%. He had 87 assists and threw away 180 turnovers. Those are not SF numbers in my book.

As Len Elmore so succinctly said on the coverage of the Draft Combine on ESPNU Thursday morning - you cannot make your decisions on a player simply by being “data driven”. You must be “data informed”. I’ve seen Aminu’s tremendous athletic ability and his skill at going hard on a drive from about 15 feet and in. It is impressive to watch, and it can remind you of Carmelo Anthony’s ability to carve out space with power and ball-handling ability.

If you do not believe you have to shoot the three as a SF - you could argue that Carmelo is hardly the deep-shooting SF type, yet he has success. But I would counter by informing that Anthony’s career 3 pt percentage is 30.8—not 23.8. And that Melo has more assists than turnovers for four seasons straight. Anthony shoot over 80% from the line while Aminu has yet to crack the 70’s.

Will Aminu improve? I’d bet he does. He is said to be a good kid. All I am trying to point out is that it may take some time for him to be the valuable SF that some are projecting him to be. At this stage - he is a Power Forward.

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