Al-Farouq Aminu is in his second season in Portland and his seventh NBA season. He has oscillated between starting and bench roles throughout his career before coming to the Trail Blazers. Then, he comes to Portland and plays 82 games in his first season starting all 82. Below is a highlight video from last season for you to reminisce about Aminu's great season.
This season, the Trail Blazers decided to start him at power forward. This was a shift from last year and seemed to have an effect on Aminu’s game. He started the season shooting 27.9% from the field and 53.3% from the free throw line in the first eight games of the season. Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference. He seemed to be slowly adjusting to his new position and role and then another shoe dropped.
Al-Farouq Aminu injured his left calf during Tuesday’s game against the Phoenix Suns according to Oregon Live. The specifics about the injury are vague, but they announced that he will be “re-evaluated in a few weeks” according to Coach Terry Stotts.
Parsing that speech the best I can that means Aminu is out at least two weeks and probably more like three or four weeks before he can ramp up enough to play big minutes. That is a big loss for the Blazers.
According to NBA.com/stats, Aminu rated as the top defensive rating among Blazers starters at 103.1 points the team gives up per 100 possessions he is on the court. That is a big loss for Portland a team that already struggles on the defensive end of the floor.
As of this writing, Portland has played two games without Aminu. They have gone in two completely different directions with their rotation in those two games. Against the Clippers, Noah Vonleh started at the four and played 26 minutes with Meyers Leonard chipping in 22. In the next game against Sacramento, Leonard started and grabbed 29 minutes and Allen Crabbe played 37 minutes off the bench.
It appears that Coach Stotts is going to play the match-ups a little bit. If the opposition is going to play small, he will insert in Maurice Harkless at the four and Crabbe at the three. If the opposition is going to play a more traditional lineup, Stotts will rely on Leonard and Vonleh to handle the minutes at the four.
It is definitely worth monitoring if that trend continues as the games wear on with Aminu out. Coach Stotts could switch things up anytime without notice so prepare yourself for anything.
There you have it, my thoughts on Al-Farouq Aminu, his recent injury, and how the Blazers cope with his absence. This could be a long few weeks for Portland and I will be monitoring how their defense is fairing without Aminu. He appears to be one of their best defenders and an already shaky defensive team could create a few long weeks for Blazers fans.</p><p>Thank you for reading.