Name: Esa Ahmad
School: West Virginia University
Height/Weight: 6’8, 225 lbs
Esa Ahmad is a very good scorer. He can get his own with ease and when he’s hot, he’s a very hard player to contain. Ahmad loves driving right and using his strength to out-muscle the defender and get himself good position to get a bucket.
One of my favorite parts of Esa Ahmad’s game is his off-ball instincts. He cuts very well and seems to always find himself to the open space on the floor. You’ll often see him in games have wide open lay-ups or dunks off of passes because he notices when the defense falls asleep on him. Ahmad doesn’t have elite level athleticism, but he will make some eye popping dunks to get the crowd going as he did many times at West Virginia last year.
What can Ahmad do when he’s not hitting his shots? That is the main concern that we have with Esa going into this season. The shot isn’t too smooth and is slow as he brings it behind his head. This makes us question whether he’d ever be able to become a consistent scorer or if he will remain streaky.
Another concern with Esa is his ability to go left. So often in games that we’ve seen him at West Virginia, he really only takes his man off the dribble when driving right. I’m interested to see how he develops that part of his game this season, but as defenders continue to adjust, I’m not sure that Ahmad will be able to continue to score the rock at a high clip if he doesn’t develop a stronger ability to drive left.
West Virginia and Bob Huggins are known for running a brutal full-court defense. Esa Ahmad was part of that defense, but was not one of the main cogs that made the defense so great. It’s hard to bash Ahmad for his defense because overall the team defense was great, but there were definitely times where you could see the lack of foot speed hurting Ahmad in man to man D.
Esa Ahmad will always be an above average scorer and should put up a good chunk of points per game at West Virginia this upcoming season. The problem with him, as mentioned above, is that he’s not as nearly talented in other facets of the game. When his shot is not on, he becomes a liability on both ends. Unless he becomes a better defender and proves that he can contribute when not feeling it in a game, he will most likely go undrafted if he decides to declare for next year’s draft.
Potential Draft Position:
Undrafted in 2018 NBA Draft