Al-Farouq Aminu is a mismatch that the Portland Trail Blazers need to take advantage of in their second round series against the Denver Nuggets.
Al-Farouq Aminu caused problems for the Denver Nuggets during the regular season. In four regular season games, Aminu averaged 16 points per game, which is his second highest scoring average against any opponent this season. He scored in efficient fashion, as well, shooting 50% from the field.
Although Aminu’s role in Portland’s offense requires him to be primarily a catch and shoot player, he did most of his damage against the Nuggets at the rim. He was able to consistently beat Paul Millsap and the rest of Denver’s big men off the dribble.
The Nuggets could counter this by sticking Will Barton on Aminu. However, the 6’10” Aminu should be able to be even more dominant in the paint against the 6’5″ Barton.
The attention will mostly be focused on the Lillard-Murray and Kanter-Jokic matchups and rightfully so. However, the battle between Aminu and Millsap may be the most important in the series.
There has been a huge difference in Millsap’s level of play in wins and losses. He averages 13.9 points and 7.8 rebounds per game while shooting 53% from the field and 41% from three in victories. However, he averages only 9.7 points and 5.9 rebounds per game while shooting a disappointing 37% from the field and 28% from three in losses.
Aminu is capable of having strong defensive stretches due to his size, toughness, and athleticism.
If Aminu can continue to play at a high level on offense and neutralize Millsap on defense, the Blazers should be able to win the series.