With the season already past the midway point, NBA GMs have their minds set on the NBA Playoffs. But for those teams that will be counting ping pong balls instead of playoff victories, the upcoming NBA Draft has many intriguing prospects that need to be recognized. So with March Madness underway, Dime contributor Lucas Shapiro continues profiling players and giving them a team that would best fit their talent. Last week was Marshall’s Hassan Whiteside, so now we’re on to Wake Forest’s Al-Farouq Aminu.
Player Comparisons: Josh Smith, Thaddeus Young and Marvin Williams.
Take a look at the people whom Al-Farouq Aminu is compared to. Each one of them are unbelievable athletes, something Aminu happens to be as well. He has the ideal body for a small forward and could even guard many NBA power forwards at 6-8 with a 7-2 wingspan. He can keep up with both since he runs the floor extremely well. His deceptive first step enables him to be quicker than opponents, and his coordination enables him to be a threat to shoot the ball as well. Coordination is a big reason why Aminu is also a great offensive rebounder. Aminu’s athleticism makes him a very intriguing prospect since he’ll be very versatile when he makes the League.
Aminu suffers from a lack of playing experience, similar to last week’s prospect Hassan Whiteside. This is partially why his fundamentals are not as developed as other prospects. He’s capable of making outside shots, but at this point, we’d prefer for him to take those shots in the gym rather than in the games. At times, his shot selection is questioned since he’ll take contested jump shots rather than trying to create for himself off the dribble. He needs serious work on this aspect of his game or he’ll just be a hustle player on offense. His ball handling and passing has improved from his freshman season, but he needs to continue to be a better team player. When it comes to defense, he has good positioning and timing to become a lock-down defender.
Due to his great work ethic, Aminu has improved every year he’s played. GMs continue to weigh personality into the draft process and this should help Aminu’s stock rise (despite the early tournament exit). However, his raw talent still needs to be developed for him to be an impact player. Luckily, the flaws in Aminu’s game are easily fixable with a good amount of time between the Draft and now. His instant impact is hard to determine, but there are certainly teams that Aminu could start next season.
NBA scouts begin to drool over Aminu’s potential when they see him get put-back dunks and nail three-pointers in the same game. His potential to become an inside-outside threat and a player who plays great on offense and defense are hard to find. Every year, combo forwards similar to Aminu tend to get drafted very high due to their potential. He could be a star caliber forward down the road if he lands on the right team. Fortunately, since Aminu can perform well on both ends of the floor, it will not be hard for him to find the right fit.
Best Fit: Los Angeles Clippers
Now that Mike Dunleavy is gone from the Clippers organization, it is time for change. The Clippers have a good deal of salary cap space and need at the forward positions. At the trade deadline, the Clippers dealt combo forward Al Thornton and have a need at the small forward position with Travis Outlaw likely to leave. Although they would love to sign LeBron James, Aminu may be the more realistic acquisition at the small forward position. Just imagine Blake Griffin and Aminu playing together. Both are incredibly athletic and are capable at alternating positions on offense and defense. This team could possibly be one of the most athletic teams with Griffin, Aminu and Eric Gordon. Hopefully, they will hire the right coach to accommodate the personnel.
Runner-Up: Memphis Grizzlies
With the possible departure of Rudy Gay, Aminu could either start or come off of the bench for the Grizzlies and bring great energy. Memphis has learned to value energy players like Sam Young and DeMarre Carroll and will continue to draft them. Aminu’s athleticism would be a nice change of pace and this team could use another good defender.
What do you think?
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