Originally Posted by CertifiedFlyBoi23 SHABAZZ MUHAMMAD: A POOR MAN'S MICHAEL BEASLEY
The summer of 2013 proved to be successful for the Minnesota Timberwolves, as the organization acquired solid contributors in free agency who will undoubtedly fill important roles in the rotation. Blend these new pieces in with the returning talent, and it is evident Minnesota has a serious shot of qualifying for postseason play.
However, one aspect of the Wolves' offseason which left many fans of the team somewhat disappointed was the club's performance in the 2013 NBA Draft. More specifically, the franchises' thought process behind selecting point guard Trey Burke with the ninth pick, trading him to the Utah Jazz for picks 14 and 21, and then utilizing that 14th pick on shooting guard Shabazz Muhammad is what ultimately caused fans to yell at their TV screens in anger and confusion.
In theory, selecting Muhammad was a good decision: the Wolves' roster needed shooting guards, and Shabazz fit the bill. However, in reality, the decision to not use their original ninth pick on shooting guard CJ McCollum made absolutely no sense whatsoever. McCollum would have been a superb choice: he boasts an exceptional pick and roll game, consistently creates plays for himself and others with his ability to attack the paint, and is a marksman from three (51.6% with Lehigh in 2012/13). Unfortunately, for what had to be multiple reasons, Minnesota did not feel the same way. As a result, McCollum ended up being picked tenth by the Portland Trailblazers (great fit, by the way) and the Wolves were left with Muhammad.
Don't get me wrong, Shabazz is a very talented athlete who thrives when it comes to creating scoring opportunities for himself. But at this point, scoring is the only thing he will provide. If the UCLA product does not change his selfish style of play, it is likely the Wolves will have the next Michael Beasley on their hands.
Yes, you read that right. It's as if Muhammad misinterpreted the phrase "be like Mike" and modeled his style of play after Beasley instead of Jordan. His game is similar to Beasley's in every single way.
Only difference: Beasley is better. A lot better.
When Michael Beasley played his freshman season at Kansas back in 2007/08, his numbers were absolutely incredible: 26.2 points, 12.4 rebounds, 53.2 percent shooting from the field, 37.9 percent from three. The high level of athleticism, efficiency, and scoring the small forward displayed as a 19 year old eventually led the Miami Heat to select him with the second overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft.
Of course, once Beasley reached the professional basketball realm, his play took a turn for the worst. Sure, he still boasted the talent to light up gyms for 25+ points on any given night. But his selfish score-first mentality caused him to attempt to create scoring chances when none were available and consistently stop offensive flow. Beasley's performance through five NBA seasons has more than confirmed the fears of him being unable to effectively play within an offensive system, and as a result, his career has turned out to be a huge disappointment.
Now, this whole "catch-and-stall-the-offense-so-I-can-score" type of game - this describes Shabazz Muhammad to a tee. As a 19 year old (excuse me, 20 year old) freshman last year, the two guard's statistics were productive: 17.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 44.3 percent shooting from the field, 37.7 percent from three. However, even with this seemingly solid output, it was evident Muhammad was selfish and would play outside of his team's offense. Shabazz was basically a black hole in the system: once he received the ball, everyone knew it wasn't leaving his hands.
Michael Beasley was exactly like this in college as well. However, unlike Muhammad, Beasley absolutely dominated at the college level. And that right there proves my point: while Beasley's imperfections weren't exposed until he reached the NBA, Shabazz revealed his flaws during his lone college season. If the negative aspects of the shooting guard's game were on full display in the NCAA, why would he suddenly find success in the best basketball league in the world?
Easy answer: he won't. If Muhammad does not adjust his style of play and become a more team-oriented ball player, he will undoubtedly struggle to efficiently produce in any NBA system.
As far as off-court buffoonery is concerned, Shabazz is not quite at Beasley's level just yet. However, if Muhammed getting kicked out of the NBA Rookie Transition Program is any indicator, it seems like the guard is on the right (wrong) path.
If the Timberwolves selected CJ McCollum, this comparison would not be relevant. But since Minnesota opted to trade down and draft Shabazz, it is important for all Wolves' fans to understand this fact: Shabazz Muhammad is a poor man's Michael Beasley.