Shabazz Muhammad was once projected to be a high-lottery pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, but issues with his character and a somewhat underwhelming season with UCLA plummeted his stock. After trading down in the draft, though, the Minnesota Timberwolves scooped up the small forward with the 14th pick in the draft.
Minnesota originally had the ninth overall pick in the draft. But as Trey Burke slipped in the draft to them, they selected Burke and traded him to the Utah Jazz, who desperately needs a point guard, for the 14th and 21st picks.
Muhammad has a ton of upside as a player. He has the potential to be an elite scorer and has great instincts on the floor. He needs to develop a right hand as he goes to his left far too often and isn’t the best athlete in the world. However, there’s no doubt that Muhammad can be effective in the league.
One of the intriguing things about the Timberwolves selecting Muhammad is pairing the small forward with Ricky Rubio. Rubio is a pass-first point guard that creates by facilitating offense for his teammates. Muhammad is great at attacking the rim off of cuts and being active off of the ball, which will fit well with Rubio.
The thing that has to cause some pause for Minnesota fans, though, is the fact that they have failed to address their poor outside shooting with this pick. Muhammad can score, but he’s not a great shooter, particularly from beyond-the-arc. Considering that the Wolves were the worst team in the NBA in three-point shooting last season, they really need to address that in the draft.
Obviously the Timberwolves have two other first-round picks, 21st and 26th, where they can address their shooting needs. But it has to be at least a little bit concerning early on that they didn’t with the 14th pick by selecting Muhammad.