Over the next week plus Pelican Debrief will be rolling out season reviews of all the players that at one point or another in the 2013-2014 season could be classified as rotation players. So far we have taken a look at Luke Babbitt, Darius Miller, Jeff Withey, Jason Smith, Alexis Ajinca, Greg Stiemsma, Austin Rivers, Anthony Morrow and Brian Roberts. Today we take a look at the one player on the roster who for the most part avoided the injury bug, Al-Farouq Aminu.
Stats: 80 Games Played (65 Started) 25.6 mpg, 7.2 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.4 apg, 1 spg, 0.5 bpg
Highlight: In a game against the Celtics on March 16, 2014, Aminu made a great play to give the Pelicans a one point lead late in the third quarter of what turned out to be a one point victory. After Anthony Davis set a screen for Eric Gordon, Aminu cut into the middle of the lane, unnoticed by many Celtics. Gordon noticed Aminu cutting, and hit him with a crisp pass which lead to an Aminu slam. (You can see the play here.)
The Good: Aminu shot nearly 50 percent (49.6) from inside the arc this year, showing even more growth after jumping from 43 to 48 percent last season. Not known for his ability to shoot from distance, showing improved efficiency inside the arc could help Aminu obtain another deal from the Pelicans if they look to resign him.
The Bad: Known for his much better defensive upside at the small forward position, Aminu’s defensive numbers dropped almost all across the board. He averaged 1.5 less rebounds, 0.2 less steals, 0.2 less blocks, and his defensive rating went from 105 last year, to 108 this year.
The Ugly: Aminu is still only shooting 27 percent from behind the arc. Unfortunately, his free throw percentage dropped almost eight percent from last year. One could say it just wasn’t his year.
Aminu continued his offensive growth this season and it showed as he posted the best offensive rating in his career at 105. Most of this had to do with his decrease in turnovers, and his continued improvement inside of the arc; however, his consistent lack of being an outside shooting threat hurt the Pelicans all year. This was a team that struggled with spacing at some point of nearly every game, and Aminu was one of the main culprits. One area that Aminu did help the Pelicans with on the offensive end of the floor however was with his surprising improvement in ball handling. With Jrue Holiday‘s injury there were times when Aminu would come in and handle the ball periodically, while also decreasing his turnover numbers to a career low 1.1 per game.
Aminu began the season as the starting small forward and was expected to improve his scoring while providing the Pelicans with quality minutes, sadly that was not the case. Down the stretch in-part because of injuries and in-part because of the offensive troubles, Aminu was demoted to the bench where he backed up Tyreke Evans at the small forward position, entering the sixth man role that Tyreke has been occupying for most of the season.
All in all this was not a very good season for Al-Farouq Aminu as his defensive numbers also fell, as mentioned above. With his drop in defensive performance and his space cramping offense, Aminu’s value diminished from the start of his career. As a player who was looking to make a progress, he regressed in many areas that some thought he was set to improve in, leaving his future in New Orleans very much in question.