The Minnesota Timberwolves selected small forward Shabazz Muhammad of UCLA with the 14th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, and there were many critics of the selection. There were some that believe that Muhammad didn’t have the work ethic to succeed, and there were others that didn’t think that he would fit well with what Minnesota likes to run. So far in his rookie season, he has seen inconsistent playing time to say the very least.
He hasn’t been getting consistent minutes, but when he has gotten a good amount of minutes in a game, he has performed at a high level. Head coach Rick Adelman has been playing him more down the stretch of the season, and he has shown the ability to score as well as rebound the basketball and play surprisingly solid defense. There is still a lot of work to do on his game before he reaches his full potential, but he isn’t too terribly far away.
As you can tell from this shotchart, one of the areas that he needs to improve in is his outside and mid-range shooting. He has a very nice game when he gets to the rim, but he is going to need to shoot the basketball in order to take the next step. In the NBA, defenses can always take away a one dimensional player once they figure that player out.
Muhammad has played in 30 games this year with the Timberwolves, averaging just 3.6 points and 1.6 rebounds per game. Those numbers certainly aren’t impressive to look at, but there have been some bright spots this year for him in those limited minutes. So how good is Shabazz Muhammad?
There’s no question that he has the potential to become a very solid role player in the NBA. It is hard to tell if he has more potential than that from what we’ve seen this year, but he has shown the potential to score the basketball at a decent clip. If he’s able to improve his shooting and improve a bit more defensively, he has a very bright future ahead of him in the NBA.
Evan Massey is the Lead Editor for Hoops-Nation.com. Follow Evan on Twitter at @Massey_Evan.