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Is Al-Farouq Aminu an elite defensive player?

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One of Al-Farouq Aminu’s biggest strengths coming into the NBA was his defensive potential, as he had impressive athleticism and work ethic while at Wake Forest. While it took him a few seasons to adjust to the differences in defending in the NBA, Aminu has certainly improved as a defender over his three year career. Entering his fourth season, is Aminu ready to join the ranks of elite perimeter defenders?

Defensive metrics don’t tell the whole story on Aminu but some of them show that Aminu is start to show some promise as a defender. Basketball-Reference’s On-Off Data show that the defense of the Pelicans suffered without Aminu on the court, as the opponent’s effective field goal percentage and offensive rating increased with Aminu sitting. estimates Aminu’s defensive value by position, which demonstrates he can find success defending shooting guards and small forwards while struggling against bigger forwards. Finally, RAPM might be highest on him defensively, as he graded out at a positive 3.63 points.

Does the video line up with this positive outlook of Aminu? His physical tools are evident, as he has quick lateral movement which allows him to stay in front of offensive players and an impressive wingspan that bothers shooters, both off the dribble and on catch and shoot attempts.

The pick and roll clips below demonstrate these physical tools, as Aminu fights through the screen (either by going above or below the screen, depending on the situation) and recovering quickly to take away dribble penetration or force a tough mid range shot.


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Written by Joshua Riddell

October 27, 2013 at 11:02 pm

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