When Rabeh Al-Hussaini was acquired by Talk ‘N Text, he was expected to be the third big off-the-bench and provide relief for their then import Keith Benson (who would be replaced by Harvey, then Jordan, then Mitchell) and versatile forward Ranidel De Ocampo. Reuniting with the coach that guided him to an MVP season and a Finals MVP back in Season 71 and Season 72, respectively, Al-Hussaini was expected to somehow revive a career that has flat-lined since he was traded from the A21 Express. As awful as his hair style is (I don’t know if that’s a ‘fro or a Mohawk), he had a pretty “okay” conference considering the atrocity he gave us back in the All-Filipino Cup.
The great thing about Al-Hussaini is that he “theoretically” could play with Ranidel (in a lineup that would help create more driving lanes) and with Benson/Harvey/Jordan/Mitchell (in a lineup that would help create a supposedly devastating pick-and-roll attack).
Yes, that’s Rabeh’s greatest “positive” right now – he stands 6’7″ that has a jumper and is relatively quick for his size. This allows him to play with a lot of different types of big men.
He’s a decent post defender who knows how to use his size to prevent the opponent not only from establishing good post position but also from backing him down. He’s actually improved as a scorer on cuts and dump downs (probably because he’s playing with Alapag now, who’s an infinitely better passer than any guard he played with in GlobalPort) and he’s being used in that roll/pop combo that Norman Black likes to use. Whether he’s cutting from weakside baseline to strongside baseline or cutting from strongside baseline to strongside elbow FT line, the point is that he’s a “midrange” threat that Black used a lot.
He’s not a good rebounder, with rebounding splits of 2/17/9.6. Again, I remind you that a big man’s rebounding splits is around 10/20/15. It’s understandable why Rabeh has such a paltry offensive rebounding rate (2.1%). That’s easily attributed to:
- how Coach Norman Black stations him farther out to the perimeter, making rebounding opportunities scarce and,
- how Coach Norman Black likes to abandon offensive rebounding opportunities in favor of defending the break.
However, what’s not understandable is a DRR (defensive rebounding rate) of 17%. Did the fact that he played with imports affect him? Yes, in the same way that Macklin affected Raymundo’s rebounding numbers. Should it drastically affect a player’s performance? Not to this extent. He’s always been a poor rebounder (his Commissioner’s Cup numbers were actually an improvement from his All-Filipino Cup numbers) so this was about right.
He also falls in love with that midrange jumper. Look, I get it. Midrange jumpers are the bane of efficiency. They are farther from the basket and yet do not provide the appropriate reward for the added risk. But these are the shots that teams usually give and it’s almost inevitable that you’ll have to dependent on it slightly. But Rabeh fancies himself as a Garnett/Bosh type and will take those midrange jumpers with no hesitation.
Also, as much as I laud his post defense work (which in itself, comes and goes depending on his mood or his offensive engagement in the game), his entire defensive work is shoddy at best. His work on pick-and-roll coverages are horrible, unable to recognize when it’s time to zone or when it’s time to switch. And when he switches, he sticks too close to the quicker player that usually results into mayhem. His help defense is even more troubling, where you’ll constantly find Rabeh (who should be looking to stymie any semblance of slashing and driving) out of position to help or recover on rotations.
I’m going to give him a barely passing grade. He’s shown some signs of improvement, especially when he’s the one cutting towards the hoop instead of being the spacer in those pairings with RDO. But for me, it’s all mental. Rabeh still has to the tools to become a very serviceable big man in the PBA, worthy of getting 20+ minutes per game. He needs to be re-wired to use his smooth midrange stroke as a last resort rather than as a first option. Hopefully, the new conference welcomes not only a re-invigorated Rabeh but also someone who understands what helps his team win more games with him playing. Whether that’s on offense or defense, the point is Rabeh is still young enough to be given a sort of timeline. It is up to him how he moves forward from this.
Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters Approval Ratings
|Harvey Carey||Rabeh Al-Hussaini||Ryan Reyes||Kelly Williams||Ranidel De Ocampo|
|Jayson Castro||Jared Dillinger||Jimmy Alapag||Larry Fonacier||Jerome Jordan|