SLAMonline Mock Draft: Al-Farouq Aminu, No. 8
Because you need someone to do ‘everything else.’
by Eddie Maisonet, III / @edthesportsfan
The punchline of The Association has squandered some of the greatest draft opportunities in the last 30 years and this year the Draft has done them no favors. They are in the unenviable position of picking 8th in a Draft that is only four or five deep at best with elite talent. This might be the best thing for Clippers, as two of their core players were drafted outside the top five (Chris Kaman, No. 6 in ’03; Eric Gordon, No. 7 in ’08). Drafting the best player available instead of drafting the supposed “sure-thing” in the Draft for the Clippers, and they are assured of having a rookie addition to their front-line in No. 1 overall pick from 2009 in Blake Griffin.
Rest assured, the Clippers might prove to be the most intriguing squad coming in to 2010, they are very solid at four of five positions on the court. Their only immediate weaknesses I see are two-fold. One, they have nothing at the small forward with the trade of Al Thornton and with Travis Outlaw set to explore free agency this summer. Backup point guard is also an issue, as Steve Blake proved much more valuable than anyone realized, and he will seek greener pastures this summer as well.
With that being said, the Clippers have scorers in Gordon, Griffin, and Kaman…they need someone who’s going to be willing to “get after it” and be willing to let the game come to him. Therefore…
With the eighth pick in the 2010 SLAMonline Mock Draft, the Los Angeles Clippers select…
Al-Farouq Aminu from Wake Forest University.
I’ll just say this up front, I didn’t want to pick Aminu here at No. 8. There were at least six or seven other players who seem like a better pick here. Yet, at the end of the day I couldn’t turn away from Aminu because I feel he will be the best fit for the Los Angeles Clippers.
Look at Aminu’s strengths, as listed by ESPN’s Chad Ford:
• Excellent athlete
• Freakish 7-4 wingspan
• Explosive leaper
• Flies up and down the floor
• Good midrange shooter
• Improved ball handler
• Nice floor vision
• Excellent rebounder
With the exception of Blake Griffin, I’m pretty sure Aminu would immediately be the best athlete on the squad, and that means something for teams trying to climb their way to the top of their conference. Ask the Lakers what those young legs of Oklahoma City were able to do to them. Plus, Aminu’s ability to play the 3 or the 4 will help with the new head coach of the Clippers’ ability to be flexible with his lineup.
There are certainly things Aminu needs work on, but again, I think this team will have a good ability to hide his weaknesses. Aminu has no range past 18 feet on his jumper, and he struggles to get his own shot one-on-one. Those are things you can work on over time, plus the man is still only 19 years old and did two years at Wake Forest. You’re drafting a proven player who still has upside.
In the long run, I see the Clip Show making a major push for Raymone, aka LeBron James but ultimately (and unfortunately) falling short. Rudy Gay (For the right price, and in all sincerity Clipper-ville I do mean right price, you better not overpay for Rudy Gay. Just a warning) could be an excellent fit for a re-tuned Clipper team that would look remarkably more athletic and versatile.
Add in Al-Farouq Aminu to that mix, and this team could be scary for years to come in an aging Western Conference. Let’s just hope and pray that the Clippers figure it out, and show us they are actually a franchise that can be worth a damn.
Other considered selections…
Avery Bradley, Texas – I was THIS close to picking him for LAC at #8. In the mold of Rondo and Westbrook, and because he’s my boy Brandon Lewis’ favorite player (inside joke) I think he’s the biggest risk/reward pick in the Draft at the PG position. He’s probably one of the best athletes in the Draft and has phenomenal defense. He wouldn’t have to start and could be instant energy off the bench. If the Clippers have every intention of signing a free agent swingman in the Draft, they could take Bradley here and still be ready for 2010 and beyond.
Xavier Henry, Kansas – Henry’s just as much, if not more game ready than Aminu. Yet, from what I’ve seen of Xavier in the last three years since high school is I think he’s a good, not great athlete. He’s got a smooth game, but is very similar to Eric Gordon in style of play. Wouldn’t be surprised to see LAC take him at #8.
Gordon Hayward, Butler – I’ve seen him selected here on a few draft boards, yet he just reminds me of an Adam Morrison/Mike Dunleavy/Derrick Byars clone. Awesome in college, not sure how Hayward’s game can translate in the pros.
|2010 SLAMonline Mock Draft|
|3||New Jersey||Derrick Favors||18||Miami|
|5||Sacramento||Greg Monroe||20||San Antonio|
|6||Golden State||Wesley Johnson||21||OKC|
|8||L.A. Clippers||Al-Farouq Aminu||23||Minnesota|