Tag Archives: shabazz muhammad

INBOX: Wolves Preseason: Minnesota Loses to Toronto 104-97, Now With More Othyus Jeffers

Patrick J: The Wolves were defeated by the Raptors last night 104-97. The Raps are a surprisingly good 3-1 on the preseason.

A few notes:

*Kevin Love: Kevin Love played like Kevin Love. He looks more and more like Daniel Plainview by the year. Which is actually pretty cool, because that’s the kind of ruthless competitiveness the Wolves need in order to become an elite team in the Western Conference. Love played well in the minutes he got last night, shooting 9-19 (Eds. Note: Many of those missed shots were misses of his own putbacks, for which he got credit for offensive rebounds, which eventually led to makes.) K-Love is in great shape, and, barring injury, he should be a shoo-in on the All-Star team this season.

*Ricky Rubio: Ricky shot like Ricky, which is to say, 0-7. But he made an impact whilst on the floor, finding open cutters and shooters unlike any other Wolves player entrusted with the ball whilst Ricky was on the bench. Ricky had 6 assists in 28 minutes, and this was good for a +8. He’s (obviously) a very legit point guard coming into this season, and will only improve when he has real wing options off the pick and roll. (Chase, get well soon! You too, Kevin Mart!)

What’s your take?

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Budinger Injured: What now?


The news of Chase Budinger’s knee aggravation and need for surgery brings two cliches to mind:

“Here we go again,” and “Things will work themselves out.”

We’ll take them one at a time.

“Here we go again…”

I hardly need to explain this one.  Budinger missed 59 games last year due to a torn meniscus.  His teammate Kevin Love, All-NBA the season prior, missed 64.  Ricky Rubio missed 25 and had to play his way back into shape after ACL reconstruction.  Andrei Kirilenko and Nikola Pekovic missed 18 and 20 games respectively.  I suppose I should also include Brandon Roy, here.  For a minute, we talked ourselves into his comeback tour.  It lasted five games before the former Blazer great called it a career.

In short, what many expected to be the team’s first playoff appearance in years turned into a 31-51 season of medical updates and frustration.

With just a few days remaining before media day (Eds note: I’m excited to make my inaugural media appearance on Monday.) and the start of training camp, this Budinger news carries an inescapable sense of doom-and-gloom, in light of everything that went down a season ago.  Let’s hope it’s the only setback the team faces in the season’s early stages.

“Things will work themselves out.”

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How Adam Silver Dismissed Shabazz Muhammad from NBA Rookie Orientation

Always Be Closing – (1:00), NSFW depending where you work

Last night Andy G wrote about Michael Beasley’s latest drug-related arrest. Today, the NBA dismissed Wolves first-round pick Shabazz Muhammad from its Rookie Transition Program–an achievement shared by a select few. Yes, Mike Beasley is one of Shabazz’s compatriots in this exclusive club. [Eds. Note: Is Basketball Reference tracking this statistic yet? You can almost smell the bling for the petulant blogger who first exploits these ANALYTICS(!)].

Anyway, the story probably goes a little something like this:

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INBOX: The “We haven’t discussed Kevin Love in a while” Edition

Kevin Love and Jonah Hill: Studies in Weight Fluctuations

Kevin Love and Jonah Hill: Studies in Weight Fluctuations

The roster is mostly set. (C’mon, Pek, sign that dotted line…) The coaching staff seems to be in place, replete with a (David) Adelman for Billy Bayno swap and Shawn Respert proxying for the late Pete Newell as the Wolves new big man coach instead of teaching Ricky Rubio how to make a jump shot.

That said, there’s a lot to be optimistic about. Rick Adelman will be back. The Wolves lost a wing, but added a pretty good one to replace him. Two or three actually, depending on how Shabazz Muhammad plays out. Most important, Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio, and others whose major, or niggling, injuries derailed the Wolves’ 2012-13 season are all reportedly healthy for 2013-14.

So now you’re looking at a rotation that might be something like this:

PG: Ricky Rubio, J.J. Barea, Alexey Shved

SG: Kevin Martin, Shabazz Muhammad, Alexey Shved

SF: Chase Budinger, Corey Brewer, Shabazz Muhammad

PF: Kevin Love, Dante Cunningham, Derrick Williams (!)

C: Nikola Pekovic, Gorgui Dieng, Chris Johnson

Our team should be pretty good.

That’s a nice segue into today’s edition of Punch-Drunk Wolves’ INBOX feature.

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Assessing Shabazz Muhammad’s Summer League Performance

Shabazz Muhammad's Vegas Summer League results were mixed

Shabazz Muhammad’s Vegas Summer League results were mixed

From ESPN TrueHoop’s assessment of the Las Vegas Summer League’s top rookies, here’s Justin Verrier’s take on Shabazz Muhammad:

Shabazz Muhammad, Timberwolves
8.5 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 0.8 APG, 41 FG%, 38 3P%



The good: The fit is there. Muhammad has the build of your everyday athletic, break-you-off-dribble wing scorer, but he thrived at UCLA mostly in situations where he didn’t have to dribble — off the catch, running the break, posting up. And on a team like the Timberwolves, with a scorer/rebounder and ball handler as its two cornerstones, it’s those “other” areas where Muhammad will need to do his work.

Despite the lure always present at summer league to isolate everything, Muhammad primarily stuck to that script, floating around the arc and running off screens, and looked right doing so. His rebound numbers in Vegas were ho-hum, but he can be a great wing rebounder with his size, if he puts in the effort. He also shot 41.1 percent from 3, better than his college average (38 percent).

The bad: The production was not there. The 20-year-old (we hope) Muhammad averaged just 8.5 points on 41 percent shooting. Which isn’t awful. But when a player who lives off offense can’t produce, particularly against inferior competition, the deficiencies in the rest of his game become more noticeable. And in Muhammad’s case that’s his ambivalence toward passing (five total assists) and mediocre defense despite the tools to be pretty good.

Bottom line: Muhammad has a lot to work with, and you’re inclined to dismiss some of the disappointment to playing a defined and limited role, but it’s hard to write all that off after a drama-filled freshman season. That age stuff doesn’t matter anymore, but can he be happy with an even smaller role in snowy Minnesota than the one he griped about in Los Angeles?

— Justin Verrier


It’s hard to argue with Verrier’s take. We know the following:

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A Loss, and the Feeling of Loss

Farewell Transmission, Magnolia Electric Co.

The Timberwolves lost their first Vegas Summer League game on Saturday to the D-League Select team, 83-81. The basketball wasn’t pretty. There was no Ricky Rubio. There was no Kevin Love. There was really no one.

Except Shabazz Muhammad. Muhammad played like you would expect most rookies to play in their first ever pro game after just a few practices, with entirely new teammates, and with literally no point guard play. He finished with 7 points on 3-7 from the floor, with 1 assist and 1 rebound. Specifics are here.

What to make of it?

Well, Muhammad, the Wolves’ top first-round pick certainly didn’t play great. But he didn’t necessarily play poorly either. He looks aggressive around the hoop. He will get to the line. He will be a step slower on defense than we would like. He has useful skills. He has imperfections. He’s a #14 pick. He registered an assist. That means he exceeded the expectations of many naysayers who ridiculed the pick on draft night. An assist? That’s more than we expected, right? As Charlie Sheen said, “winning.”

But this post isn’t about Shabazz Muhammad and it isn’t about the Timberwolves. It’s about loss, and losing, in broader context.

Tonight’s loss didn’t matter. It was fake players and fake rules and fake everything.

The cat is out of the bag: Summer League doesn’t really matter.

At all. It’s cotton candy for fans when there’s no other NBA action. You don’t take Summer League losses, or wins, or stats, very seriously, unless you want to end up deluding yourself.

Juxtapose tonight’s loss with one that did matter–at least to me.

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Howland on Shabazz

[The Timberwolves] have committed to him. A guaranteed contract. I assured them that this kid is a great kid, not a good kid but a great kid. There won’t be issues off the floor. He’s driven, he wants to be great. He’s a player, like [former UCLA Bruins] Kevin [Love] and Jrue Holiday, that was a No. 1 kid coming out of high school. I think that benefits them moving forward. They want to compete, they want to be the best. He’s going to improve as a player. He’s a great kid. I look forward to following their team next year and see how they develop.

–former UCLA Coach, Ben Howland, on new Timberwolf, Shabazz Muhammad. While it’s hard to glean too much from an interview like this, from a majorly-biased source, I find it interesting how far Howland goes in explaining what a high-character guy he thinks Shabazz is. This is especially true, given that Howland was fired shortly after his one and only season with Shabazz. Some degree of reservation, or lack of enthusiasm, would be understandable. Full Q & A with timberwolves.com here: (http://www.nba.com/timberwolves/news/qa-former-ucla-coach-ben-howland)

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by | July 1, 2013 · 2:21 PM

It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes Shabazz to Cry


My typical order of operations for running this blog is to write first, read later. During the season that means I watch the game, think about a post theme on my fifteen-minute walk home, and then immediately start banging on the keys. I do this for two main reasons that are equally important to me: First, I don’t have a lot of time during the work week to spend on the blog, so I need to be as efficient as possible. Writing while thoughts are fresh and I’ve yet to unwind from the game is the least wasteful of time. Second, it’s the best way for this blog to provide a unique perspective. If I’ve already read other takes, I’ll be more accurate but less original. So with those considerations in mind, I bang out a post as best I can, press “publish” and then read the other fine Timberwolves websites and blogs, usually discovering mistakes I made but also setting my previous thoughts in a fuller context.

I didn’t do that with last night’s draft. That’s partly because, after the Muhammad and Dieng picks, I strolled down the street to my favorite bar for a some post-draft decompression. By the time I got home it was too late to start writing. But I also wanted to read other takes first because, well… THE WOLVES DRAFTED SHABAZZ MUHAMMAD!!! Unbelievable. Pat and I have written a few different ‘Bazz-related posts, and I kind of sort of thought they were at least a little bit in jest. Don’t get me wrong, I’m far from a Shabazz Hater; just didn’t seem possible that this team, coached by this coach, at this juncture, would opt for such a polarizing prospect.

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Mock Draft, Part 2 (9-14)

If the Wolves draft Shabazz Muhammad, Flip won't have to ask for his longform

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.)

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Off the court, …

Off the court, I’m a nice guy. On the court, I want to play. I’m a guy who wants to win. That’s what it takes to be the best. I’m not just looking to get drafted. I’m looking for my team to be a playoff team, to be an All-Star. That’s something I always try to look for and setting goals to reach out to.

–Shabazz Muhammad, in his post-Wolves workout interview with timberwolves.com. For the entire piece: http://www.nba.com/timberwolves/news/1-1-uclas-shabazz-muhammad

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by | June 18, 2013 · 4:44 AM

Shabazz Muhammad’s Father, Ron Holmes, Facing Federal Charges (The G’z and Hustlas Edition)

(NSFW, depending on where you W.)

OG Ron Holmes, the forging father of potential Timberwolves first-round pick Shabazz Muhammad, is in trouble again. So what’s the story here?

From CBS Sports:

Ron Holmes, father of former UCLA star Shabazz Muhammad, has been indicted on federal bank fraud and conspiracy charges. He is being detained in Las Vegas pending a detention hearing, according to a report in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Here’s more on Ron Holmes – aka “Ron Shabazz” – including the complete court proceedings (h/t LA Times).

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The Polarizing Shabazz


Will Shabazz Muhammad be the next Harrison Barnes, or Austin Rivers?


“[Shabazz] Muhammad might be the most controversial prospect in the draft. Blessed with both terrific scoring skills and a tremendous amount of hype, he was widely regarded as a potential No. 1 pick coming into his freshman season.

But expectations can be a tricky thing. Seven months later, Muhammad finds himself fighting to stay inside the lottery. Were the glowing scouting reports on him in high school just wrong? Or is Muhammad’s evaluation more complicated?”

That was Chad Ford’s take in his enlightening post yesterday about Shabazz Muhammad, and the lottery-prospect’s experience at Peak Performance Project.  It’s an athletic training facility focused on biomechanical and neuromuscular assessments to help athletes improve on any physical weaknesses that they may have.  Apparently the computers are impressed with the Bruin prospect’s leaping ability (he’s a “quick jumper”) but suggest he has work to do in the lateral quickness department. More than anything the article indicates Shabazz is doing all he can to identify and improve his weaknesses.

This matters because the Timberwolves might draft Shabazz Muhammad with the ninth pick in the upcoming draft.  It’s interesting because a large contingent of Timberwolves fan base (basically, the entire Canis Hoopus commentary community) hates the idea of the team drafting this particular player.

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How do we feel about Cody Zeller?

So I was just finishing up Season 2 of Boardwalk Empire, naturally checking Twitter every so often, when this one came across the wire from Jerry Zgoda:

A brief texting exchange ensued.  Since we’re low on Kahntent and it seems apropos to late-May Wolves discussion, I figger’d I’d type it out.

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After The Lottery: Where The Wolves Stand Now


Is RubiOladipo in the Timberwolves future?

Trading Up: Should we? Can we? What would it take?

Patrick J: Rumor has it that the Timberwolves are looking to move up in the 2013 NBA Draft from their current position at #9.

What would this mean in practical terms? Key questions remain, about both the value that could be gotten from moving up, who the right choice would be given the Wolves’ needs, and what Minnesota would have to give up to do it.

The consensus is that Nerlens Noel and Ben McLemore are the top two players in the draft. The Wizards would have a difficult time passing on Local Hero Otto Porter at #3. DX currently has Anthony Bennett going #4 to the Bobcats and Victor Oladipo going #5 to the Suns.

On moving up in the draft, Darren Wolfson reports the following:

“According to league sources, Saunders is a big fan of Indiana guard Victor Oladipo, and the only way to get him is to move up from the ninth-spot.”

Wolfson reports that the Charlotte Bobcats — currently slated to pick 4th — would be the Wolves target in a potential trade up.

That leads to a series of questions, namely, would the Bobcats give up the #4 to the Wolves, and what would it take? Also, would trading assets for Oladipo be a net positive for the Wolves, given the short-term time horizons of coach Rick Adelman?

(Eds. Note: An interesting sidebar to the Wolfson story is the following quote: “If the Wolves stay at No. 9, one league source predicts Saunders will take UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad. Word has it that the Wolves like him. But so does Detroit, and they pick one spot ahead of the Wolves.”)

Would the Bobcats take Derrick Williams and the #9 pick for the #4, which could buy the Wolves Oladipo?

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NBA Draft Lottery: Rapid Reaction Force Edition

Shabazz Muhammed - Future Timberwolf?

Shabazz Muhammad – Future Timberwolf?

Andy G: That was my immediate reaction. Now that I’ve *poured that bourbon* and *stepped outside for that air* we should probably take a couple steps back and digest what it means that the Timberwolves will be picking 9th in the upcoming draft and not 1st, 2nd or 3rd like we had hoped — however irrationally, given the 94 percent chance that they would — you know — NOT pick 1st, 2nd or 3rd. I guess I’ll start: Nerlens Noel isn’t walkin’ through that door, Ben McLemore isn’t walkin’ through that door, and Victor Oladipo isn’t walkin’ through that door, fans.

Your thoughts?

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Draft Combine, Part III: The Measurement Edition


Over the weekend we took a look at some of the more interesting youtube interviews of potential draftees at the combine. Part I here. Part II here.

Now we’re wrapping up the DRAFT COMBINE SERIES with a few observations — mostly Timberwolves-related — about the measurements portion of the event. Without further ado…

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NBA DRAFT: What the Prospects Say

Trey Burke: Sewer Hero

Trey Burke: Sewer Hero

Co-authored by Andy G and Patrick J

DraftExpress just posted a bunch of interviews with top prospects who’re possible future Wolves at the NBA combine. Below, Andy and I react to each that was published today. Assuming more are to come–possibly to include Anthony Bennett–we’ll probably hit the wheel on this a second time for comparison’s sake. Full analysis below.

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