Anas Osama Mahmoud has averaged 27 minutes per game over his last four appearances prior to yesterday’s game against Pittsburgh, after logging just 17.6 minutes per game over the previous nine.
A bit player in his first couple of seasons at Louisville, the seven-foot center from Egypt is becoming a more prominent part of the Cardinals as the ACC portion of their schedule heats up.
And the way he’s performed so far, Mahmoud has become an interesting long-term pro prospect, though the fact he’ll turn 22 in May gives you some cause for concern regarding his development curve.
Lack of strength and toughness might ultimately prevent him from getting a real chance in the NBA but his height, ball skills and defensive intelligence should surely earn him paychecks in an alternative market elsewhere.
MOBILITY, SKILL LEVEL, IQ
Mahmoud has exceptional mobility for someone his height.
He is an asset to pick up smaller players on switches – proving himself able to bend his knees to get in a stance and shuffle his feet laterally to stay in front or keep pace with them on straight line drives to use his length to contest their shot at the basket.
Mahmoud has also shown a lot of intelligence making timely rotations as the last line of defense, beating dribble drivers to the front of the basket, preventing them from attacking the rim and forcing them into pull-up jumpers or floaters from the dead zone.
If they do decide to challenge him, Mahmoud can elevate off the ground out of two feet quite easily, jumping up vertically to legally knock the finisher off balance in the air or using his standing reach to alter and block shots – averaging 5.3 blocks per 40 minutes this season prior to yesterday’s game, according to basketball-reference.
Mahmoud is a foul machine, though. He’s averaging 6.1 personals per 40 minutes.
On offense, he also excels in areas related to his quickness, aside from showcasing some very appealing ball skills as well.
Mahmoud has good hands to catch the ball on the move and can play above the rim as a target for lobs diving down the lane out of the pick-and-roll or hiding behind the defense in the back-side. He’s also shown nice touch on non-dunk finishes – converting 25 of his 30 attempts at the basket this season prior to yesterday’s game, according to hoop-math.
His most impressive contribution on offense has been as an asset helping facilitate offense, though; handling in the high post for dribble-handoffs, hitting backdoor cutters when the perimeter defender overplays and passing out of the short roll to shooters made open by the threat of his rim runs – assisting on 10.5% of Louisville’s scores when he’s been on the floor, though his 19% turnover rate is sky high in the context of his 13.4% usage rate.
Mahmoud has flashed a catch-and-shoot jumper from mid-range in a couple of occasions a guard got so deep into the lane before pitching him the ball that he was wide-open on the catch, caught it in rhythm and felt compelled to let it fly but hasn’t yet developed into any sort of a real threat in these instances. He has a low release, almost letting the ball go on his way down, and his 50.8% career free throw percentage suggests he’ll need to build his mechanics from the ground up.
Mahmoud has also flashed some skill scoring on emergency post-ups; impressing with the way he can catch the ball, plan on doing something else but then pivot into a quick turnaround hook in a well coordinated manner.
STRENGTH AND TOUGHNESS
But Mahmoud is not a viable option to get isolated in the low block regularly. He has a very lean 215-pound frame in the context of his seven-foot height, struggling to get deep enough seals and generating space for his finishes by backing down his defender.
The biggest problems are on defense, though.
Mahmoud gives up deep post position to opposing big men with any sort of strength. He’s proven able to elevate out of two feet and block a shot from time to time but can’t hold his ground and often gets backed down all the way to under the basket.
He’s attentive to his boxout responsibilities and often puts in the effort to put a body in his opponent but lacks strength and physicality to push him out of inside position. At this point of his development, Mahmoud is a massive liability protecting the glass, collecting just 9.8% of opponents’ misses when he’s been on the floor this season.
Editor’s Note: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara