If the Wolves draft Shabazz Muhammad, Flip won’t have to ask for his longform
Eds. Note: This mock isn’t necessarily intended to predict what teams will do, but to spell out what WE would do at each pick. Some of that is likely to map onto what teams actually end up doing on Thursday, some isn’t. Part 1, which covered picks 1-8, is here.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves – Shabazz Muhammad, SG/SF, UCLA
Patrick J: If the draft were to unfold as we outlined it here, there won’t be any great options left for the Wolves at #9. That said, the Wolves need a shooter and scorer on the wing. Shabazz Muhammad is a shooter and scorer who plays the wing. Most fans hate Shabazz. They don’t like that his dad RON HOLMES (!) forged Shabazz’s birth certificate. They don’t like that Shabazz never collected any assists. They don’t like that Shabazz didn’t play well against the Gophers during the only game most of them probably saw Muhammad play all season long. Me, I don’t care about Shabazz’s age, his Daddy issues, his passing, or his putative attitude problems, which is (at this point) overblown since we don’t know beyond vague RUMINT that Shabazz has any attitude problems. What I do care about is obtaining a scorer who is taller than 6’1’’ and can score without being ball dominant. Shabazz does that in his sleep. He wouldn’t be a great fit for every team, but I think people are selling short the fit he could be on our team.
To close, I will quote RON HOLMES:
“Bazz is going to blow up in the NBA lets team up and blow this thing up!!!” Holmes wrote to a Times reporter in a text message. “I’m going to need a publicist anyway why shouldn’t it be you. We can do some big things together.”
Doesn’t that convince you?
(More of Ron’s Ruminations are here.)
Andy G: We attended Wolves-Wizards last January. The Wiz were barely beginning to hit their stride (which made the ass-kicking that much more painful — we didn’t totally see it coming, despite Mickael Gelabale being a starter) and in particular their young backcourt duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal looked mighty impressive. The synergy that Ernie Grunfeld envisioned when he drafted Beal (and reportedly turned down a James Harden trade (!)) was coming to fruition before our eyes, even with Randy Wittman at the wheel.
John Wall created shot opportunities. Bradley Beal took advantage of them. In the course of their first season together — largely limited by injuries — the duo thrived. On average they were +3.6 per game, best of commonly-used Wizards player pairings. I think many will predict big improvement from Washington next season, including a playoff berth, in large part because they’ve put together such a talented and balanced backcourt.
I bring this up because the Wolves also have a magnificent playmaker at point guard, a dearth of capable 2’s, and a pair of first rounders in the upcoming draft. Also like Washington, Minnesota has veteran frontcourt talent. Basically, everybody’s waiting for that shooting guard to arrive. Whether it be with the lottery pick (9) or the one received from the Grizzlies (26) it seems likely that a wing player will don a Timberwolves cap on June 27.
We’ve already talked Victor Oladipo and Shabazz Muhammad. ‘Dipo is not Beal. Whether better all-around or worse, there’s a clear difference in style; in tool sets. And Shabazz, well… it’s probably best we lay off that one for a bit. He’s controversial, putting it mildly.
If they end up going lottery wing, that likely leaves Kentavious Caldwell-Pope from Georgia (if they stay at Number 9) or Ben McLemore from Kansas (if they trade up). Both can shoot it.
Which is the way to go, all things considered?