Free Agency

Report: Raptors Interested in 6’9″ SF Al-Farouq Aminu

As per David Aldridge, the Raptors will be meeting with Al-Farouq Aminu:

The 5-year veteran small forward was with Dallas last season and averaged 5.6 points and 4.6 rebounds in 74 games.  The Wake Forest product was the 8th pick in the 2010 NBA draft, and has been a bit of an offensive disappointment, but has made his mark defensively at the position.  He’s a solid defender and rebounder, but beyond that doesn’t bring you anything else.  He can’t shoot, doesn’t have an offensive game and is essentially a hustle-guy who is capable of making good cuts to the rim.  He’s got good size at 6’9″ for the three, and would be the best defensive player on the team if signed.

This would also put into question James Johnsons’ role for next season. Johnson is as good a man-defender as Aminu, a worse rebounder, a better offensive player, but the bottom line is that neither can shoot.

Aminu declined a player option which would pay him $1.1M next season, this after signing a two year deal with the Mavericks last summer.

Here’s a scouting report from a New Orleans blog from last year which pondered on whether to keep him or not before he bolted for Dallas.  There’s also a pretty solid article from Upside Motor which chronicles Aminu’s fit with the Mavericks, and how best to integrate 3/4 tweeners like him.  The reason Dallas went for him is summarized in this little piece from the article:

And fortunately for Aminu, he couldn’t have found a better fit than the Dallas Mavericks for his skills. Being placed next to Dirk Nowitzki — the premier floor spacer in the NBA last season from the front court — should be a massive bonus for his career. He’ll be allowed to simply wreck havoc on the offensive glass and make cuts to the rim (his 1.31 points off of cuts last season was in the top 15 percent of all NBA players) while Nowitzki and Chandler Parsons help to space the floor. Even Tyson Chandler’s pick-and-roll heavy game will help the Mavericks’ spacing when Aminu is on the floor, and it’s going to be a huge help to his career. Aminu is a bigger, better version of what Jae Crowder has brought to the Mavs last season, and he’ll be a welcome addition.

You can certainly afford to have him on the roster as long as the rest of the lineup is capable of efficient offense, and shoots a lot of jumpers, as that’s the environment where a guy who loves to crash the boards can thrive.  So, maybe interest in a free-agent like this is indication that the Raptors want to continue to play “small ball” and focus on perimeter shooting, while providing some rebounding insurance through a guy like Aminu.

As for his offense, if you’re not of the faint of heart, take a look at his shooting zones – yeah, this guy’s all defense, and not anything else.

AlFarouqAminuShotChart

His Basketball Reference Page

His NBA.com Page

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