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.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Moultrie would not benefit from a UTEP return + notes

I feel compelled to speak on a few things I’ve read recently. Chad Ford of had this to say about players who should go back to school. On Arnett Moultrie from UTEP: “Now that Tim Floyd is at UTEP running the show and Derrick Caracter has left for the NBA, Moultrie should be featured more offensively.” I’ll disagree. It’s not that I think Moultrie is a guy that should be drafted for sure but I would never say that going to a Tim Floyd coached team could help one’s draft stock. Floyd plays slow-ball and his players statistical output always reflects that. If Moultrie returns to UTEP - his already pedestrian numbers could take a hit and that will not improve his draft stock.

Two players I like more than the average scout: Luke Babbitt of Nevada, and Robert Glenn from IUPUI.

I feel bad for Tim Welsh - the former ESPN commentator who had just taken the head coaching gig at Hofstra. Welsh was arrested for driving drunk on Friday and he has since resigned as Hofstra’s coach. I’ve always enjoyed Welsh as one of the most honest analysts in the game and if he is honest with himself in this situation he will realize that as bad as his current predicament is it pales in comparison to what could have happened had he continued to drive drunk.

The first round of the NBA Playoffs had only one surprising result to me. The Utah Jazz beating the Denver Nuggets was not something I saw coming. Deron Williams continues to be the poster child for NBA guys that were good but not GREAT in college. Many considered Dee Brown the star of the Illinois team that also included Luther Head.

Who put Stephen Jackson fifth on their ballot for MVP in the NBA post-season voting? They should have their right to vote revoked for life. It was probably the same person who was the only one to list Lebron James third on their ballot. ...The voting also reveals that Tim Duncan is no longer viewed by the media as an elite player. He did not receive one point in the voting that allows for listing your top-five players in order. Duncan’s minutes may be down in the regular season but the truth is—he was more efficient (that’s per-minute across the board) than Dwight Howard was in the 2009-10 regular season. Howard finished fourth overall in the voting.