The New Orleans Pelicans and the New Aminu

Published: December 3, 2013

Jason and Gerry V discuss Aminu, his performance this season and last, and his fit on the new roster.

Jason: Gerry, just before the start of last season, Aminu’s option for this season was declined, and he started that season on a tear, especially in transition. He was up and down, but finished the season worth his contract in my opinion.

Before this season, the New Orleans Pelicans signed him for that option value, and he’s started the season . . . ok. He’s been benched once this season, just as he was last season, and in both cases, it lit a fire under him. That’s nice, but the benching is not necessary for many NBA players.

What are your thoughts? Is he ok? Worse? Is the improvement in transition of others hurting his value to the team? Is this “just Aminu?”

V: When you say transition, are you referring to his open floor game? Transition is his strength. Aminu can run like the wind and filling lanes for catches and dunks or lay-ins at the rim is where he feeds his game.

(+) He can run . . . open floor right to the rim actions suits him nicely

(+) Gives the rebounding effort as he at times displays quickness to the rim on the shot attempt . . . still needs a little work on how to shed blockouts

(+) Off-the-ball defense is improving . . . on the ball defense is decent . . . footwork slowly improving and mastering the angles could use a little pick-me-up, but he’s getting there

(*) Moving without the ball / cutting and knowing how and when to get to spots

(-) Handle needs another bounce . . . change of direction to get into his shot appears to lack the confidence, and that hampers his “attack and go game”

(-) Lacks the legit jumper off the dribble, either off one or two dribbles . . . consistency lacking . . . a player with his physical tools and position must be able to get a shot and get to the lane / rim

In closing, Aminu has shown some improvement but not at the rate I had hoped for as far as some offensive skills.

Jason: This bring me to two prongs of inquiry:

First, does the fact that the Pelicans’ guards are more are more athletic, does this reduce his value? Would an equally talented forward with different skills better fit the team, especially at $3.7m this season?

Second, is he good enough? The rotation seemed to be going away from him to close the game prior to Davis’ injury, and this has taken about 5.5 minutes a game from him, or about 20% of his share last season, dropping him from the fifth largest share to the seventh. Given that demotion, is he showing enough to still consider him an investment going forward if he can be had at a salary reflective of his production? Or, instead, is he just not good enough, or maybe right enough? What does he need to show you to not give you indigestion when you realize the game tips in 30 minutes?

V: As far as your prongs (LOL) go, I’d like to stick one in his offensive game with the hope it would elevate his game . . . I need to see a jumper off the dribble . . . at least one or two bounces. If he could be a scorer, I would at least force a grin . . . score off the break, putbacks, steals . . . MUST DEVELOP A JUMPER!

Why he isn’t more of a slasher is an unsolved mystery to me. Where is the “cut, catch, and score” game? (I’m now weeping like a child) I could live with some of the offensive game being missing if he was more of a defender . . . and passer.

$3.7m is not a bank buster . . . Lock him in a gym until he emerges with a jumper and a few bounces added to his game . . . have food delivered to him to maintain nourishment.


Jason: It sounds to me like it is put up or shut up time for Aminu. His spot up shooting is ok, but he’s not a great handler, and that may have affected, and may be continuing to affect, his development of a jumper he can actually use in various game situations.

So . . . given the rest of the team today, draw up the shooting guard we need. This can’t be a LeBron. You aren’t getting an empty net goal by me! We need low cost up to, say, the MLE… Call it $6m in first year salary.

V: I think Aminu is getting too much air time. he’s more of a backup player and length of the “can’t do” list is obvious. He has his moments, and I have explained the healthy part of his game vs the not so good. The Pelicans have enough guards. Aminu is a nice player who can contribute, but what you see is what you get. Too much time is being spent conversing about him as the “other bigs” are getting a pass, and What have they done?

I hope the Davis injury is not one to keep him out for a very long time . . . yeah, they beat the Knicks (Knicks are awful) . . . a loss to the Knicks (9 losses in a row) would have left the Pels red faced blushing . . . another big maybe?. Need another scorer at the small forward (team shoots the two for a 33% clip). Who should he be? I don’t know right now . . . a scorer and the defense better improve.

Jason: Thanks, Gerry. Next time, I harass you about the bigs instead.

Gerry V is a 21-year NBA analyst, 17-year talk radio host, a 16-year coach, and current anchor for “Fox 8 New Orleans Morning Edition”, 5 a.m. – 9 a.m. Check out Gerry V’s Sports Editorial “I’m Just Sayin” on Fox 8 “Morning Edition” at 7:50, 8:50am Mondays & Fridays . . . also hosts “Gerry V’s “Talk Back Live on 99.5 WRNO New Orleans right after every Saints Sunday Game…. Follow Gerry V on twitter (@GVTalk).


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