Assessing Abdullah Ahmed in Two G-League Games

May 2nd, 2024

By Alan Lu

Recently, Westchester Knicks’ 6-10 Egyptian center, Abdullah Ahmed announced his intentions to enter the 2024 draft.  He hasn’t received much fanfare across various draft sites, but he’s actually put forth modestly decent numbers in the G-League this past season.  While he still may have a ways to go from an offensive standpoint, at least looking at his numbers statistically, he’s rebounded the ball very well, and he’s shown that he can be a shot blocker at that level. 

Therefore, I set out to watch two games that he played in.  The first one was a March 2nd game against Motor City Cruise, with thanks to YouTube via The PreP | Sports Media, and even though he played only a handful of minutes in that contest, he put up a good statistical showing there.  The second one was a November 29th game against the Maine Red Claws, with thanks to YouTube via SportsLive.  He didn’t score in that game as he played only a few minutes, but I wanted to see the other aspects of his game, such as his motor and to see if he could make consistently solid team plays.  So with all of this in mind, here are my thoughts on how he fared in both of the games, as well as where he may stack up as a draft prospect for the NBA.

Abdullah Ahmed is a borderline second round candidate for the 2024 draft, and while he’s flown under the radar, his size, athleticism, and motor combined with putting up decent numbers in the G-League could enable him to make it to the NBA someday. (Photo: China Wong/NBAE via Getty Images)

Thoughts on the March 2nd Game between Westchester and Motor City:

Abdullah Ahmed is a fairly athletic, energetic big man that will make hustle plays on both ends of the floor.  He showed promise as an interior player on both ends of the floor, and while his playing time was limited, he made some very solid plays in this game.

Ahmed did a decent job of scoring in the post.  On one play, he seemed like he used a double pivot move as he showed some questionable footwork, but he managed to score on a jump hook off the glass.  On another, he used a quick drop step and a spin move to score on a smooth turnaround jumper that banked off the glass, as he showed much better footwork and shooting touch this time.  Also, Ahmed was able to get the ball on a side roll, and went up to draw free throws on a strong dunk attempt, although he missed the free throw when he was at the foul line.

Also, he would set screens, and one of his screens was able to help create a driving lane for a teammate.  He showed some rather suspect footwork the first time he received the ball in the post, but he did not turn the ball over that time.

Plus, he did a good job of rebounding the basketball in the limited amount of time he was on the floor, and Ahmed was able to leap up to get a pair of defensive boards.  Defensively, he looked to be about average at best.  On one play, he rotated to a ball handler and then got back to the roll man to help break up a lob pass.  However, he had trouble defending in the post in this game.  He got beat on a drop step and then bit on a pump fake to allow a score once.  When defending in the post another time, he committed a reach-in foul another time.  He also defended an opposing ball handler late in the game but got beat off the dribble to allow a score.

Overall, Abdullah Ahmed didn’t get as much playing time as expected, but he is a fairly athletic big man that showed off some low post scoring skills.  He’ll need to expand his skill set offensively and add a reliable jumper to his arsenal, but his size, motor, and skill set could enable him to play in the NBA someday.

Thoughts on the November 29th game between Westchester and Maine:

Abdullah Ahmed got even less playing time in this game, as he basically just got mop-up duty minutes late in the fourth quarter, so this evaluation probably won’t hold much weight.  That said, this game was to get an extra glimpse of his motor and to see how well he can make team plays even when he’s not really scoring the basketball.  Even though his teammates didn’t really look for him on offense in this game, I thought Ahmed turned in a decent showing in the very limited amount of minutes he was on the floor.

On offense, he would run the floor to try to get the ball, but his teammates would either not look for him, or throw inaccurate passes that would not allow him to get the ball cleanly.  On one play, he ran the floor to try to get the ball in the post in transition, but they threw him a low pass that he couldn’t quite handle, which led to a team turnover.  Another time, Ahmed set an on-ball screen and rolled to the rim, but they didn’t look for him on that play.

On the plus side, Ahmed would set plenty of on-ball screens, as he would help get his teammates open jump shots and driving lanes, and his teammate was able to score on a drive off of one of his screens.  He also was able to swing the ball to find an open shooter another time.

Also, Ahmed was able to use his long reach to tip a ball to a teammate to help his team get a defensive board, and he did a decent job of helping his team get boards in the very limited amount of time he was on the floor.

Defensively, I liked what I saw out of Ahmed in this game.  He showed off solid defensive potential, and he is an active, rangy defender that can lock down the paint.  On one play, Ahmed rotated to defend the ball handler out on the baseline, and he was able to block a mid-range shot to a teammate due to possessing good length, timing, positioning, and instincts.  He also leapt up to deflect a lob pass to a teammate to get a steal.  On the downside, there was one play where he was late to defend a roll, and he ended up fouling an opponent while trying to defend a lob pass.  

In this game, Ahmed wasn’t really a shooter or scorer in this game, and his teammates both didn’t look for him very often and had trouble getting the ball to him in the post.  On the other hand, he did a solid job as a screen setter, and he showed some real promise as an interior defender.  He’ll need to expand his skill set offensively and continue to hone his game, but he could be a prospect to keep an eye on in the future.

In analyzing Abdullah Ahmed’s skills in both games, he is a fairly athletic, energetic big man that can make hustle plays to help shore up his team’s interior.  He’ll need to add a reliable jumper to his arsenal and try to find ways to involve himself more on offense, but Ahmed’s ability to make plays to shore up the interior combined with his size and above average athletic gifts could enable him to be a rotational big man similar to former San Antonio Spurs’ center, Francisco Elson in the NBA, as Ahmed could provide some solid backup minutes as a rim runner and rim protector in the association.

All in all, those are my thoughts on how Abdullah Ahmed fared in these games and what his projected role could be in the NBA.  Thanks for reading.

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