Latest on the Draft Process and Aminu

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Published: June 16, 2010

The second round of workouts hasn’t happened yet, but there are some rumors flying about I feel should be mentioned here.  First, it seems that Xavier Henry did very well during his interview process.  His demeanor and the way he answered questions about sacrificing personal stats for the team really earned him some points.

The other rumor that’s been flying around is that Al-Farouq Aminu may be slipping in the draft.  The sophomore out of Wake Forest didn’t get good reports out of the Combine about his interviews, and the teams in the mid-lottery(picks 5-10) don’t seem to have him ranked that highly.  As a result, he may slide, making him available when the Hornets are picking – but Aminu may not be willing to come to New Orleans for a workout, considering how “low” the Hornets may be picking.

That, of course, means the Hornets may be stuck in a situation similar to the one a few years ago when Julian Wright, predicted to go somewhere between 4 and 8 slipped to them in the late lottery.  In fact, The similarities between the two are almost eerie.  Since anything is possible when the draft rolls around, here’s an evaluation of Aminu.

Al-Farouq Aminu, 19, SF/PF

The sophomore out of Wake Forest took on a bigger role this season for his team, operating mostly as a power forward after working primarly as a small forward his freshman year.  As you can guess, he’s a bit of a tweener, not really showing the shooting skills necessary to be a small forward, while at the same time not showing any sort of back to the basket power game.  Nonetheless, he’s still been very highly rated as an athlete, and some evaluaters think he could end up being an exceptional face-up Power Forward.

Strengths: Rebounding.  Aminu ranked 1st among small forward prospects and fourth among power forward prospects with total rebounding percentage.  His offensive rebounding rate topped all forward prospects, and ranked fifth in the entire draft.  He knows how to crash the boards.  Unfortunately, outside of rebounding, Aminu didn’t post good numbers in any other stats.  Scouts have reported his defense is good, but he is merely average with steals and blocked shots,(Not a complete correlation, I know) but that’s about all I can say on the plus side. 

Weaknesses:
Shooting.  It’s hard to say anything nice to say about Aminu’s offensive skills.  He posted the worst eFG% off of jumpshots of any forward prospect, and posted similar numbers from three.  Even with inside shots(non-dunk shots in the paint) he posted the second worst eFG% – so that vaunted athleticism isn’t doing much to help him there.  The result is that even with him doing a decent job at drawing free throws, his True Shooting Percentage was the sixth worst among forwards.  Combine that with an abysmal turnover rate(8th worst) and worse than average assist numbers, and we’re looking at a pretty grim offensive picture.

Summary: Aminu is living on that dread word, “potential”.  Hard-nosed defense and rebounding can get him into the league and make him a contributor – maybe even one that could help the Hornets sooner than later, but to expect him to develop past being a role-player is banking on his willingness to work. Reportedly, he does, but it’s still a big if that makes me uncomfortable.

Physical Data from the Combine

Player Height w/o Shoes Weight Wingspan Standing Reach No Step Vert Max Vert Bench Press Lane Agility 3/4 Court Sprint
Average SF  6′ 6.09″  213  6′ 10.4  8′ 8.1″  29.6  34.6  10.9  11.38  3.26
Al-Farouq Aminu  6’7.25″  216  7’3.25  9’0.5″  27.0  33.5  13  11.29  3.3
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