Before I get in to this, I should start by stating this is in no way a bashing of Shabazz Muhammad.
I used to buy in to the hype of Shabazz Muhammad. But as the draft nears closer, I have a hard time separating him from other SF options projected to be available later in the draft. Mainly, Deshaun Thomas.
I watched a lot of Deshaun the last 3 years living in Columbus. And Ive watched UCLA games when theyre televised. And Ive come to the conclusion that these 2 players are as close together in similarity to their games, but projected to be drafted not close to each other.
17.9 ppg 5.2 reb 0.8 ast 0.1 blk 0.7 stl 44% fg 71% ft 37% 3pt/fg
19.8 ppg 5.9 reb 1.3 ast 0.3 blk 0.5 stl 44% fg 83% ft 34% 3pt/fg
Similarities: Both are above average scorers. Both do well in post-up situations as they have strength to overpower their opposing defender. Both are lefties and heavily favor their left. Both are good 3pt college shooters. Both attack the offensive glass. Neither are known for their passing skills. Neither have elite athleticism.
Differences: Shabazz has better speed, which can translate to being a better defender. Bazz is 20 yrs old, Deshaun is 21. Deshaun also has 1 inch of height on Bazz. Shabazz also has a 2 inch wingspan advantage over Deshaun.
Either Im completely overvaluing Deshaun Thomas, or Im undervaluing Shabazz Muhammad. Ignore all the hype that was thrown towards Shabazz, the last 2 years, and what do you have? A freshman at UCLA playing in a sophomore's body, another player that will get drafted higher than he should because of his potential. And questionable character issues.
Ill end my rant by saying Im a huge fan of both and love watching them play. I hope they both land in a perfect situation in the NBA and have continued success.
I think people oversell Shabazz' alleged "character issues". While the game where Larry Drew hit the game winner was a poor for Shabazz' image, people blow it out of proportion. He is an incredibly hard worker, he worked his way back into relative game shape after coming in out of shape due to injury. He plays with Torrettes, which should not be understated, would be incredibly hard to do. I think his hard working nature will help in a locker room no doubt. Though I do think he was over-hyped in HS, and his athleticism was never what was advertised. He is going to be a good scorer and if he can use his strength to his advantage, possibly a good rebounder from the 2/3 spot, and if he pans out, I see him as a good 2nd/3rd option scorer.
D. Thomas is definately a gunner but I like him, I thik hes being quite undervalued. He has a quick release which is only going to get better. He could be affective againts certain 3s in the post as he develops. His handle is just so poor and uncreative but run him off a screen and boy you probs got a bucket. Hes not the quickest butr If Jared Dudley can play the 3 thers hoipe for Thomas.
Thomas is very undervalued...He'll be a big bodied perimeter shooter off the bench, its amazing how his stock has dropped and he had an incredible season
I think Shabbazz will be the best player taken 5th to 14th, and Desean will be the best player taken outside of the lottery...These two guys could land in perfect situations and are the most NBA ready wings physically... Both need to work on their ball handling and defense, but I see both these Guys playing huge roles for their teams early on in their careers...Shabazz is still considered a great prospect in my eyes, and Desean Thomas is certainly no slouch himself, I'd take either with no hesitation in this draft...
There are similarities but I wouldn't call them similar players. Deshaun will stick in the league because of his shooting. Yes he is good at posting up, but ultimately he will make his living with mid-range and 3 pt shooting. Deshuan will struggle defensively, but I confident that those issues can be camoflagued on the right team system.
Bazz is an over-confident slasher who relies heavily on his strength and motor. I'm still a Bazz believer and think he'll be a serviceable 3rd option even on a good team. I like Deshaun as well, but think that there are only a handful of scenarios where he will be able to play 20+ minutes.
Shabazz isn't really a slasher or a good one anyway. He's one of the best catch and shoot players in this draft coming off pin downs or multiple screens. I don't think anyone had that as the most efficient part of his offensive arsenal.
What Deshaun lacks, when compared to Shabazz, is the ability to handle the ball like a guard. I think Deshaun is a bit of a SF/PF tweener, who can stretch the floor a bit and hit a deep jumper, but doesn't have the ball handling to take guys off the dribble. Thomas does have really good strength for a guy his size, but I'm not sure it is going to be enough to be terribly effective at the PF position in the NBA.
Thomas is a skilled guy, and a player I think is worthy of an early 2nd round pick, but he has an area of his game that he needs to take up quite a bit in order to be an effective SF in the NBA. In the early 2nd, I think it's wise to get the best basketball player and Thomas is certainly a gifted and skilled ball player, butI think he is going to have to up his game to stick in the league.
I think Thomas could find a role in the NBA like Jared Dudley did, being an undersized PF with a jumper is not a bad thing, you just need to become a better ballhandler. When watching Thomas play, he likes to stretch the floor and play on the perimeter, but he's also physical too. I think he could be a nice role player and great value pick in the early 2nd, but I also think he should look at a guy like Jared Dudley, who had a similar skillset coming out of college, but honed a few of his skills in order to make him a valuable NBA player.
Compared to Shabazz, Thomas's handle is inadequate? No way. I'd rate their ballhandling ability as roughly equal. It's functional, they can bring the ball up the court against air with no problems. They can also create some offensive off the bounce but they lack airtight control and variety in their ballhandling.
Disagree, I think Shabazz is a superior ball handler. You don't create as much space as he does without ball handling ability. Thomas spots up, moves without the ball and operates in the post. He has some one on one game, but he's not the one on one guy Shabazz is, and inferior ball handling is a part of that.
You think he creates space? I think that's one of his biggest weaknesses and why I think he might not be all that in the NBA. One of the least efficient aspects of his game was scoring off the dribble and a lot had to do with not being able to create space, either moving forward and blowing by his man or stepping back and creating distance from his defender. He's a straight line driver without an explosive first step who shot a lot of one-handed push shots off the dribble with a defender right in his face.
You make a good point about him being a line drive player, there's definitely truth to that, but I'm comparing him to Deshaun Thomas, a slow combo forward, not Trey Burke. I don't think I've ever seen Thomas take anyone off the dribble ( obviously an exaggeration ) but still I stand behind my analysis of Thomas.
Whether Shabazz is a better ballhandler than Deshaun or not, he's still not a good ballhandler for a wing. It's not horrible; that standard is reserved for Avery Bradley and Tony Allen and company but for a wing whose main skill is scoring, it's limiting rather than helping.
...watching the NBA for a long time is that there are different types of scorers. Take the Bulls for example. If you look at stats, Luol Deng is their leading scorer this year. But, here in the playoffs, everyone and their brother would rather the ball be in Nate Robinson's hands when they need a bucket. That is because he can CREATE offense. He can just dribble around and make a basket, whereas Luol cannot do that nearly as effectively. I think that Shabazz has a skill set AND mindset to be a better go to guy in the NBA, which is a unique and VERY coveted skill. I think he might be one of the ONLY guys in this year's draft that can become that type of "create your own offense" type of player. I personally think that he is going to be one of the better players from this draft. Everyone will look back and say, "Why did he fall to 10-15?!?!" He was #1 coming out of H.S., had a decent college season and has the size and skill to be a good player. Sometimes these guys that are hyped for awhile seem to get "stagnant" to NBA scouts for whatever reason and they fall out of favor. But, I look at Harrison Barnes and see a guy who is going to be a big part of a perrennial playoff contender for years who can do what he does well and realize there were a lot of people who missed on him, too. Paul Pierce was another one of those guys. It always amazes me when the draft rolls around and projects are taken ahead of guys who you KNOW can do certain things at an above average rate, even when compared to other NBA players.
Deshaun needs to get tougher and stronger and i think he could fill in as a poor man's Zach Randolph with better range and way less rebounding. It is a stretch but ya never know.