The 2010 SB Nation NBA Mock Draft is still underway, with each SB Nation blogger making selections for their respective teams. Steve Perrin, editor at SB Nation's L.A. Clippers blog Clips Nation, checks in to make the eigth overall selection in this year's mock.
With the eighth overall pick in the 2010 SB Nation NBA Mock Draft, the Los Angeles Clippers have selected Al-Farouq Aminu, forward, Wake Forest Demon Deacons.
Perrin explains: I have two kids, a fifth grader and an eighth grader, and they each marched in their promotion ceremonies this week, after finishing elementary school and middle school respectively. You know, amid the excitement of things like the NBA Finals and the World Cup, for a time there I had almost lost sight of what's really important. THE NBA DRAFT! Or more to the point, the SBNation Mock NBA Draft! Yup, that's what really matters people. Life is short - participate in as many mock drafts as possible, because mock draft memories last a lifetime.
The Clippers, more than perhaps any other team in this draft, have a single gaping positional need. With only five players under contract for next season, you'd think that pretty much any talented body would help, but the simple fact is that four of the five signed players (Baron Davis, Eric Gordon, Blake Griffin and Chris Kaman) are the obvious starters at their positions next season. So a capable small forward is the obvious, glaring hole in the current lineup.
Originally it seemed as if there was a big gap between the two best small forwards in this draft (Wes Johnson and Al-Farouq Aminu) and the rest of the field. But as if often the case, as scouts (and bloggers) started taking closer and closer looks at the likes of Paul George and Luke Babbitt and Gordon Hayward, they started to like them more and more. I was prepared for Johnson and Aminu to be off the board, and to have to choose between some of the other threes, even though it seemed like maybe eight was a little high to be taking them. Then I started to tall in love with Hayward and Babbitt (not so much with George, but that's me), and I convinced myself that either one of them would be a pretty good pick.
And then Aminu started to drop.
I think I have to take Aminu here, but I'm a bit ashamed to say that I think I have to take him because he was the more highly regarded player, and not for a much better reason than that. Certainly, he's got the NBA body, particularly the length and athleticism, and he's much less risky than any of the other choices. Unfortunately, the Clippers really need a three who can hit perimeter shots and spread the floor for Griffin and Kaman, and that is the one thing that Aminu can not do as well as any of the other choices. But he can rebound, he can run, and he can defend, and he seems like a reasonably sure thing to at least be a solid rotation player in the NBA, if not necessarily a star. I'm a little lukewarm on the idea, but I'm picking Al-Farouq Aminu.
Ridiculous Upside reacts: Like Perrin, I had decided to look to other options when Aminu seemed to be a lock to go before the Clippers had a chance to draft him. Is he a perfect pick for the current Clippers no? Is he the best player available at the only real position of need? Definitely. Probably good to not overthink this one.
Blogger So Dear weighs in: Robert Reinhard from SB Nation's Wake Forest blog will remember Aminu as "the chief."
Athletically speaking, Aminu is a man among boys. He is 6' 8", 210 pounds, with a 7' 4" wingspan. He thrives in a fast-paced offense where he can score in transition or in the secondary break. In the pros, his size will allow him to create mismatches. His length will frustrate small forwards who try to guard him, and his quickness will frustrate power forwards who try to guard him.
Sure, he's probably a bit biased, but that's overly-intriguing.
Ridiculous Upside's Top 5 remaining prospects: 1 - Patrick Patterson, PF, Kentucky. 2 - Luke Babbitt, F, Nevada. 3 - Ekpe Udoh, PF/C, Baylor. 4 - Xavier Henry, SG, Kansas. 5 - Ed Davis, PF, North Carolina.
Sound off, SB Nation! What say you of the Aminu-to-LA pick?
And please, remember to check out Clips Nation for everything you need to know about the Clippers.