Many Mavs fans were disappointed and sad to see beloved ex-Mavericks, Shawn Marion, not re-sign to stay in Dallas and eventually decide on a one-year deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Now that pain has diminished because of rising star, Al-Farouq Aminu, and what he provided for the Mavs this past season and especially in the playoffs.
Standing 6’9, Aminu has an enormous 7’3 wingspan, huge hands, and possesses athletic ability few small forwards can boast. He was a player many fans, including myself, heard rave reviews about on the defensive end and was envisioned as potential ‘Matrix’ like on what he could provide in one-on-one defensive play and effort.
In one season Aminu has exceeded those offseason expectations and transformed into that energy, effort and defensive player off the bench. Aminu has a motor that any fan base can appreciate, he plays with aggression, never gives up on plays and displays tremendous heart. Anytime Aminu checked into the game you can notice it in the team rebounding numbers and turnovers he’s able to force through both blocks and steals. Now Aminu is still raw offensively, he doesn’t really have a ‘move’ per se in his set of tools and he still needs to shoot the 3 ball consistently, only shot 27% during the regular season, but everything else he does more than makes up for it.
He was superb in the opening playoff round against the Houston Rockets as he filled in for the injured Chandler Parsons and was able to really disrupt James Harden offensively and limit him towards the end of the series. Surprisingly he also shot a whopping 63% from beyond the arc and had a few Sportscenter highlight reels, none more memorable than his game 5 steal, coast to coast facial on Clint Capela in the first quarter. If the nation didn’t know who Aminu was before then, well they certainly know now.
Fans desperately want Aminu back in Dallas next season and there’s no question he needs to be a priority for the Mavs front office to re-sign to a new deal. Now Dallas shouldn’t break the bank for him but he certainly deserves a raise and may be the perfect candidate for full midlevel of $5 million, similar to what Brandon Wright received a couple of seasons ago. Aminu is only 24 years old and believe it or not the only player on last season’s roster that was born in the 1990s! (Go 90s babies!)
Now while I certainly want Aminu to stay with the Mavs I don’t think Marc Cuban and Donnie Nelson need to break the bank for him. While Aminu is good he’s not a star although he certainly has some star like attributes, especially if he can polish his offensive game. Also he predominately backups Chandler Parsons and unless you like Aminu or Parsons to the PF or SG spot it’s hard to justify paying too much for a bench/role player. Parsons is already making over $15 million and you don’t want to invest too heavily into one position when you have other needs, such as point guard.
Now if you think having a starting lineup with both Chandler Parsons AND Al-Farouq Aminu, well then it’s easier to justify going over the full mid-level exception if that’s the case. Only Rick Carlisle can answer that question, maybe he saw something in the playoffs in Aminu that he may want to experiment with, perhaps a similar version to Golden State Warriors Draymond Green?
Now that would mean Aminu would be starting over Dirk Nowitzki playing small ball but hey it could work but I’m not sold Aminu is worthy enough of being the player to start over the great Big German but hey anything’s possible.
The biggest question in re-signing Aminu will be how big the market that he’s created for himself really is on a national level. There are always teams in free agency willing to overpay for key players and you can never be quite sure how desperate some teams may be in acquiring their targeted players.
Al-Farouq Aminu is a young interesting prospect that could continue to blossom, this author certainly hopes that is the case for years to come.