The script plays out as we expected, as the Clippers select Wake Forest forward Al-Farouq Aminu with the No. 8 pick.
D.J. Foster has watched every offensive possession of Aminu’s college career and has written about Aminu’s game comprehensively:
Best Case Scenario: Josh Smith
Josh Smith is one of the rare players in the NBA who can succeed without any sort of offensive game to speak of. For many years Smith didn’t realize his limitations and shot and missed a ton of jumpers, looking like he would never figure it out. Last year Smith stopped shooting and just hung around the rim, and it was kind of a revelation. Aminu has shown that he likes to spot up, even though he’s a horrid shooter and was a cut-above athletically in college. Like we tend to preach here on Clipperblog, knowing your limitations as a player is half the battle. Smith has already sort of blazed the path for a guy like Aminu. Hit the offensive boards, fly out in transition, dunk everything in sight. If Aminu follows that path, the sky’s the limit.
Worst Case Scenario: Tyrus Thomas
For every success story of a relatively unskilled athlete making it (Josh Smith, Gerald Wallace) , there are a million guys who don’t. Athletic forwards without offensive games and a true position just don’t have a lot of success very often if they’re not elite in other areas of the game. Can Aminu be an elite defender? Certainly, but he won’t be if that’s not his primary focus.
Aminu shows hints of being a Josh Smith or a Gerald Wallace type tweener, but he’s not nearly the athlete those two players are. Like most of the players in this draft, Aminu doesn’t project out to be a star. He can’t create his own shot and he can’t shoot, and in the NBA, that’s a problem.
That said, it’s rare to see a player with those physical tools give the amount of effort Aminu already does on the defensive end. For a team that values that end of the court and likes to get out a run a bit, Aminu is a perfect guy to plug in at either forward spot. Are the Clippers that team? We don’t know yet, and that’s one of the most unsettling parts about evaluating prospects in this year’s draft.
Audio from Neil Olshey and Andy Roeser: