No one has to remind Tyson Chandler what type of an impact Al-Farouq Aminu can have on a team.
“I’ve been singing his praises ever since we got him,” said Chandler, the starting center of the Dallas Mavericks. “I think he’s an incredible player.
“I think he got drafted into some situations where he didn’t find his groove in organizations that didn’t quite have an identity yet. He got caught in the Chris Paul trade with LA before Chris, and then went to New Orleans after Chris, so I feel like he’s a young player that has a lot to give.”
Aminu gave early and often during Thursday’s 120-102 win over the Utah Jazz. Playing 20 minutes off the bench, the fifth-year forward finished with 16 points and a team-high 10 rebounds in registering the Mavs’ first double-double of the young season.
The Mavs (1-1) expect more of the same from Aminu when they face the New Orleans Pelicans (1-0) at 6 p.m. Saturday at Smoothie King Center. It will be Aminu’s first game in New Orleans after spending the past three seasons with the Pelicans.
“A lot of those guys I played with two or three years, so a lot of them I know,” the 6-foot-9, 220-pound Aminu said. “I guess that’s where it’s cool to see them.”
Aminu doesn’t believe he has anything to prove to the Pelicans, adding it’s “just a regular-season game. They’re in our division and I want to play well and keep things going over here.”
Coach Rick Carlisle feels Aminu can keep things going by staying focused on the task at hand. Some of that came to fruition when he converted 6 of 7 shots against the Jazz.
“He got a lot of baskets just off of movement,” Carlisle said. “We need him to be a high-level activity guy and just make things happen with his athleticism and his nose for the ball.”
Chandler is so high on Aminu that he compares him favorably to former Chicago Bulls superstar Scottie Pippen.
“The first day I saw him I told him he should go back and watch Scottie Pippen, watch the tapes on him because that athletic, long built of being able to really hound guys with long arms and strength, I feel like he has that,” Chandler said. “And he has the motor to stay after it as well.”
Aminu has indeed taken the time to study tapes of Pippen, and has learned plenty about the Hall of Fame forward who helped the Bulls win six world titles.
“I just notice the way he attacks the boards, the way he moves his feet,” Aminu said. “Just the little things that made him such a great defender and instincts, and just knowing where he needs to be on the court.
“All those different things turn you into a high-level defender.”
Chandler believes Aminu’s confidence level will help his game expand to new heights.
“I think he continues to grow every day,” Chandler said. “And the more he learns offensive and defensive schemes, the less he has to think out there and the more he can react naturally, which he has incredible God-given abilities.”
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This story was originally published October 31, 2014 10:12 PM.