After putting up another year of stellar numbers for the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Al-Farouq Aminu decided to hire an agent and enter himself into the 2010 NBA draft. Aminu’s upside is what seems to have solidified him as a lottery pick, but he has some weaknesses, including size and lack of a real position, that cause many insiders to question his long-term potential in the NBA.
Al-Farouq Aminu has had two outstanding years at Wake Forest. After coming out of Norcross High School in Georgia as a five-star player, according to Rivals.com, and listed as the number seven recruit of 2008, Aminu has lived up to expectations for the Demon Deacons.
In his freshman season, Aminu averaged 13 points and 8 rebounds per game. In his sophomore campaign, Aminu averaged 16 points and 11 rebounds. He has showed an adept ability to get to the free throw line, averaging almost 6.5 free throws per game in the 2009-2010 season. As his numbers show, he is an excellent rebounder, who is able to get great positioning around the hoop to make up for his lack of size. Over the last two years at Wake Forest, Aminu has shown the ability to play multiple positions (small forward, power forward, and even center), and has been successful at each one. Al-Farouq has averaged close to a block and a half per game over his two collegiate seasons, which is testament to his great athleticism. The biggest praise that anybody could give Aminu, which will definitely help his draft stock, is that he has been dubbed an extremely coachable kid. Being coachable may actually be more important to some NBA executives than talent (as long as the “upside” is there).
Al-Farouq also has some weaknesses that may cause him to drop in the draft. While his numbers at Wake Forest were exceptional, many question what his true position is. At 6’9″, he is too small to be a center in the NBA, unless he possesses Ben Wallace-like rebounding ability, and he is even too undersized to be a power forward in “the league.” His height would make him a perfect fit for small forward, but his inability to knock down the outside jump shot will hurt his chances there.
He came into college, according to Scout.com, as a “perimeter oriented” player who could “create his own shots.” But, after two years of college, his three point shooting percentage is only around 23 percent. And, one of his weaknesses, according to DraftExpress.com, is that he has trouble creating off the dribble. He would have to shoot and dribble much better than that to be a successful small forward in the NBA. Also, while one of his strengths is to get to the foul line, he has only shot about 69 percent from the free throw line in college. This is not a terrible percentage, but NBA scouts would like to see that number at least in the mid seventies.
Overall, a team drafting Al-Farouq Aminu is drafting him as an impact player in the future, not this coming season. He will need to work on his shooting and ball-handling in order to truly make a difference in the 2010-2011 season. But, with the work ethic and “coachability” that he showed in college, this is not out of the question. Aminu’s intangibles, leadership, and work ethic would make him a welcome addition to any NBA team, but if the team is looking for the Brandon Jennings or Derrick Rose type player, who will immediately bring an untalented team to respectability, then Aminu is not your guy. If you are a team that might be able to sign a few free agents this summer, while also having a few key components come back, and you have time to wait and develop a player, then Al-Farouq would be a steal at whatever spot you take him.
The team that jumps off the page as a potential landing spot is the Los Angeles Clippers. They have cap room to sign a big time free agent, they have a real need at the forward position, and they also know that, in three years, when Aminu will become a free agent, there is a chance that, because of his development, he will be able to be re-signed at a reasonable price, just as he enters what will likely be his prime years. For a team that is always accused of choosing players based on price, rather than talent, Aminu seems like a logical, cost-efficient choice for the Los Angeles Clippers.