EWE Basket Oldenburg's Rasid Mahalbasic has delivered a series of all-round performances so far in the 7DAYS EuroCup Top 16 like few have ever done before him in the competition. In doing so, the center has been a driving force to keep Oldenburg in the quarterfinals race.
Oldenburg's fate comes down to Round 6 of the Top 16 where it will face a must-win situation at home against Promitheas Patras and the club will likely need another big performance from Mahalbasic, who has been posting big numbers all campaign. He was one of the main reasons Oldenburg rode into the Top 16 with a five-game winning streak from the regular season. Then he stepped it up a couple of notches across the board to a truly elite level.
Through the first five rounds of the Top 16, Mahalbasic is averaging 19.2 points on 67.3% two-point shooting, 8.6 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 1.2 steals. It is all good for an average performance index rating of 26.2. If he keeps it up, that would stand as the highest average PIR throughout the EuroCup Top 16, besting Alexey Shved of Khimki Moscow Region and his 25.7 from the 2016-17 season.
Mahalbasic leads the Top 16 in points per game, ahead of some of the most dangerous scorers on the continent such as Errick McCollum, Milos Teodosic and Klemen Prepelic. Mahalbasic also leads the Top 16 in rebounding, ahead of rebounding aces Devin Williams and Julian Gamble. And he ranks third in assists behind Stefan Markovic and Jaime Fernandez, but ahead of a passing wizards Teodosic and Jordan Theodore. No player has ever come close to ranking among the top three in all three categories.
Despite being a threat all opponents prepare for, Mahalbasic has been truly dominant offensively. He has gone on multiple scoring runs for his team where he appeared nothing short of unstoppable, battling under the rims, hitting close-range hook-shots and nailing mid-range jumpers. He leads the Top 16 with 11.0 two-point attempts per game, which is also the second-highest number ever in the Top 16, and he still converts them at 67.3% accuracy, which ranks 16th best with only two players who have attempted more than 7 two-point shots per game ahead of him. To keep defenses honest, he can also knock down three-pointers, which he did in three of five games and is 3 for 7 in that department in the Top 16.
Oldenburg enters the Top 16 finale on a six-game home winning streak, but a mere win might not be enough to clinch its first-ever quarterfinals berth; the hosts will also depend on the result of the all-Italian clash between Germani Brescia Leonessa and Umana Reyer Venice. An Oldenburg win by 11 or more points would win a tiebreaker over Promitheas and a win of 17 or more points would surely be enough to reach quarterfinals. All math aside, if Mahalbasic can keep up his unprecedented performance level, we just might watch Oldenburg play elimination games in late March.