NBA Draft 2013: Shabazz Muhammad's DBB scouting report


Leading up to the draft lottery, members of the Detroit Bad Boys staff will weigh in on the Detroit Pistons' draft prospects. We continue with UCLA's Shabazz Muhammad. Should the Pistons draft him?

What would Muhammad bring to the Pistons?

Shinons*: CONTROVERSY! Really though, he's a talented player. He has an NBA build, he can shoot, he has the mentality, and it's not easy to put up 18 points per game as a freshman with a mediocre percentage. Theoretically, he's the type of guy who can put your team on his back during those rough scoring droughts. Perhaps another Andre Drummond? I don't think so. But it's a thought.

Mike Payne: I was excited about Muhammad before his freshman season, then soured on him as the numbers came in. I don't care about his eligibility issues nor his age, all I care about is what he accomplished on court. Unfortunately, it's easy to look at Muhammad and see a player with a below-average efficiency, one who needs control of the ball to produce. When you add his unimpressive athletic numbers (steals and rebounds), Shabazz seems like an unimpressive player.

However, I do find a bit of intrigue in Shabazz, and he might actually have value for a team like Detroit. For a guy with such a high usage rate, Muhammad barely attempts isolation plays and he barely turns the ball over. Most of his offensive production comes from spot-up attempts, which by nature are shots that are most often assisted. He also only turns the ball over a stunning 1.6 times per game (opposite 14.3 shot attempts). What's more, while these stats suggest low-usage playmaking, he gets to the line 5.6 times per game. This points to a guy who could be successful playing off-the-ball and not wasting shot clock or blowing plays. On the offensive end, it could be some nice no-nonsense value for Detroit.

Sean Corp: Points. Is that a good thing? Not really. I mean, Knight gives the Pistons points and nobody mistakes him for a particularly talented NBA player. When evaluating a player and parsing stats and trying to figure out if his game will translate to the NBA, sometimes it is best to just keep it simple -- Muhammad seems like a Harrison Barnes clone. And Barnes has one season of NBA play under his belt and I'd say that in that one season Barnes proved every criticism and worry about his game to be well founded. Except, of course, Barnes is two inches taller and a legitimate NBA small forward whereas Muhammad is a 6-foot-6 player who I see more as a bruising shooting guard (with a questionable handle) than an undersized small forward.

Kevin Sawyer: The willingness to be an offensive leader, and a scorer with good range on the wings who can space the floor. There is also a fair amount of upside potential. If you believe Muhammad's off-court distractions limited his output, which is a reasonable conclusion, then you have to wonder if he isn't primed for a Drummond-caliber improvement when he makes the leap.

For better or worse, ShaMu is great at holding onto the ball. He had the lowest turnover rate and the lowest assist rate among small forward prospects. Give him the ball, and you won't be getting it back.

Biggest red flag?

Shinons*: Biggest? The only thing he brings to the table is inefficient offense. There are plenty of other red flags though.

Mike Payne: His red flags are well-pronounced to the point that I'll avoid playing repeat. Personally, I don't like that no one really considers him a shooting guard, because I certainly wouldn't want to see him at small forward in Detroit.

Sean Corp: See above -- Inefficiency. One dimensional. Bad comps. Lack of height. No natural position. It's hard to pick my favorite one!

Kevin Sawyer: Other than the fact he doesn't pass and can't shoot? Muhammad's rebounding and steal numbers are among the worst of all prospects at his position. He ended his career at UCLA on an atrocious six game run, which doesn't exactly scream "the problems are behind me". There is a decent chance he's just not very good at the game of basketball, and will be another wing who earns contracts because he shoots too much.

On a scale of 1/10, how would you feel about Muhammad joining the roster?

Shinons*: 2/10. If I'm thinking about what my ideal team looks like, Shabazz Muhammad doesn't exist on this roster.

Mike Payne: 4/10. An intriguing prospect despite the tanking draft stock. If everyone else is right about him, I wouldn't want him near this roster. If what I see between the lines about him is right, he could have sneaky value. Granted, he'll probably always be viewed as a disappointment since he was once considered a future star. Temper those expectations and you might find something valuable in him.

Sean Corp: 1/10. Honestly, Muhammad is one of my least favorite potential draft picks for the Pistons. I've tried to talk myself into him a number of times but the more I think about it the more I think the right choice would be to pass on him for someone else. If the Pistons draft a tweener, I'd much rather have Anthony Bennett or even the patented Joe Dumars combo guard named CJ McCollum. And it physically hurt me to type that. Pass.

Kevin Sawyer: 4. This number goes down if any of my top five are still on the board. However, Muhammad was hyped enough, and had a bad enough situation, that I could get excited about the possibility his college performance is not indicative of his ability. I have him at the tail-end of the lottery for that reason, but I would really rather he did not become a Piston.

Now, your thoughts.

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