Last off-season, Al-Farouq Aminu was given the chance to seize the starting shooting forward slot in the Hornets lineup. How well did he perform according to expectation?
Positives: A 26.2% defensive rebound rate set the bar for shooting forwards in the NBA. Among all forwards, including players like Kevin Love, Kevin Garnett and David Lee, he had the 26th highest rate since the turn of the millennium! He improved his shot selection by taking roughly 25% more of his shots at the rim, and in turn, enjoyed a jump in his field goal percentage (41.1% -> 47.5%) and offensive efficiency differential. Lastly, for fans of advanced stats, compared to the season prior, Aminu's WP48 rose by .109 and he added 5.2 wins produced.
Negatives: Aminu remains a terrible jumpshooter, 32.3% on 2's outside the rim area and 21.1% from behind the arc. He has one of the worst turnover ratio's in the league for shooting forwards, mainly due to the fact he'd rather dribble into traffic or attempt a difficult pass rather than shoot the jumper.
My Grade (1 to 5): 4.
Explanation: Despite the occasional playing time hiccups, Aminu emerged as one of the Hornets most important players. His best skill, rebounding, became dominant and meshed exceeding well on a team with a below average defensive rebounding center. Further, on a team loaded with jumpshooting bigs, Aminu's ability to cut into lanes and play above the rim proved necessary. His defense was capable, but at times, game changing. Lastly, it cannot be forgotten, he was just 22 years of age and still learning the nuances at SF, although his skillset screams PF.