There was a time when Shabazz Muhammad was thought of as a potential number one overall draft pick.
Now, he’s threatening to fall out of the lottery.
Muhammad, who played one season at UCLA before deciding to turn pro, was recently described by ESPN’s Chad Ford as a “natural fit” with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Outside of the top 10, the Oklahoma City Thunder, Dallas Mavericks and Utah Jazz all are natural fits. While a draft range of No. 8 to 14 is far from the No. 1 pick, it might just be what the doctor ordered for Muhammad. After being hyped his whole career, an escape from such crushing expectations might give him the freedom he needs to live up to his lofty potential.
Muhammad definitely wouldn’t have much pressure on him if he were drafted by the Thunder. He wouldn’t have to start right away and may not even be getting much playing time since he would be starting out behind the likes of Reggie Jackson and possibly Jeremy Lamb.
Overall, Muhammad was a disappointment in his one season at UCLA but that doesn’t mean he will be a disappointment in the pros, especially if he is drafted by a steady franchise like the Thunder.
Muhammad is a lefty whose game somewhat resembles that of James Harden. Of course, no one now expects Muhammad to be of the same caliber in the NBA that Harden is but if he can do a poor man’s imitation that might work in OKC.
Scouts still believe Muhammad has the ability to become an elite scoring talent in the NBA. With Kevin Martin likely on the way out in OKC, trying to replace him with a guy who can score may be a great fit with Muhammad.