Another Hit To Muhammad Draft Stock

CHICAGO – NBA executives are raising the possibility that Shabazz Muhammad could fall out of the first top 10 picks in the NBA Draft and possibly the lottery entirely, the latest draft setback for the UCLA swingman who began the season in the conversation for the No. 1 pick.

Muhammad being on the board until the middle of the first round on June 27 was once inconceivable, and still is to some within the league, for a prospect with the potential to be a scoring star. But in noting his selfish play, poor body language and the new perspective after the discovery Muhammad had been lying about his age, some teams had turned shockingly cold as the annual pre-draft combine Thursday began the first of two days of drills and workouts.

One executive said, on the matter of Muhammad dropping in the draft, “I’m not saying it happens. But I wouldn’t be surprised.”

“Out of the lottery?” another personnel boss said. “I guess it’s possible.”

And from another head of basketball operations, without hesitation, when asked if Muhammad could fall from the top 14: “He could.”

The climate has turned so bad that another general manager savaged the prospect even while saying there is no chance Muhammad gets out of the lottery, and maybe doesn’t even reach double digits.

“It’s his overall attitude,” that executive said. “His presentation of himself. It’s an all-about-me presentation. I think that’s his biggest knock…. His selfish tendencies on the floor show up at certain times. But that’s what scorers do.”

Indeed, there is the possibility that Muhammad is in the common role of former high school phenom struggling to transition to the college game and now the pros, all with a large spotlight as a recruit expected to help rejuvenate a prominent program. It may simply be a matter of maturing, in play and personality.

Either way, Muhammad has a bad image as the draft approaches, and not just in the moment. Scouts and executives had been increasingly hard on him during his freshman season at UCLA, noting his selfish play with various versions of “He doesn’t get others involved,” the way a star should elevate an entire team. The concern among losing franchises that might take him near the top of the draft was that Muhammad would be little more than a stat stuffer. Clubs in the lottery that already had pieces in place worried that continued work as a volume scorer would create problems on a roster.

His play is the primary concern, but that hit also comes in the wake of the strange discovery in March by the Los Angeles Times that Muhammad, while listed as a 19-year-old by the school, was actually 20. While some teams have already gotten past the concern of what other secrets could jump out down the line, the real issue of the adjusted age became his development. He had been overpowering younger players in high school and some in the one college season, an advantage he would not have among grownups in the NBA, and he suddenly had one less year to develop. Muhammad, simply, was not as advanced for his age as once thought.

“I don’t think that’ll hurt me,” Muhammad said. “To know I’m 20, I’m still pretty young, one of the youngest guys in this draft. I’m just going to see where it takes me.”

Asked what questions he anticipates from teams once he sets a schedule for individual workouts following the lottery outcome on Tuesday night, Muhammad said, “It’s up in the air. It’s going to be really interesting, so I’m looking to that and looking forward to talking to teams and telling them a little bit more about myself.”

But, there will be birth-certificate questions.

“Probably so,” he said. “But I’m going to answer the questions truthfully and tell them what’s really going on.”

37 Comments

  1. GBreeza says:

    His game is good. I think you’ll be surprised. He played for a bad program. UCLA develops good guards but they never use them the right way. Remember Westbrook. Yea he’s gonna be good and someone will get a steal.

  2. stax says:

    no one mention the fact that he has turrets syndrome…. he works hard to fight threw it

  3. LAKERS FAN says:

    This KID needs to be one of US… :D

  4. m00duck says:

    There are teams that can gamble a bit, but there are teams that can not. If Shabazz goes to a winning team – there won’t be a chip on his shoulder in terms of responsibility for his actions, if he’s a bust, then the winning team make descision to get rid of him and life goes on.
    But if he’s a high draft pick…you know that to be picked, say, fist or second, third…it means a lot. It’s a player must change something for a franchise.
    If he want to get his and that’s all – no team will be happy. But some teams could be killed.

    Imagine a rebuilding team. The Pistons. They have some youngsters, now they pick Shabazz and guess what? He is a ball hog, no defense, sloppy offensive “only to the left” drives, no jumshot after the dribble. He won’t make Dummond happy. He won’t make Monroe happy. There is no coach in Detroit that can handle the guy.

    If he want to get his, he will make his stats look nice no matter what. He did that in college.

    Now answer to yourself as you were GM picking a player: do you want to gamble to have cousins-ish player? Can you handle this guy and why should you take a risk to ruin your team’s chemistry?

  5. chook says:

    Same hype was around Demarcus Cousins simply put i would take the risk!! No brainer i would just make sure i had a strong culture and exceptations on and off the court teams like the celtics, spurs, bulls. The kid can score and has the athletic ability to play in the nba that has never been questioned.

  6. Growl says:

    I am so happy UNLV got Bennet and not this tool this past year. I had a couple of buddies play with him in middle school and they said the samething, selfish and thinks too much of himself since he was a youngster.

  7. hater says:

    Shabazz to OKC with the Raps pick around 12??? nasty

    • TheStarMiddleschooler says:

      NO JUST NO
      if that happens im no longer a OKC fan…
      Trade Jackson!
      Draft Dennis Schroeder
      Need a Backup Point Guard so this Never happens again

  8. jordan says:

    wouldnt risk drafting him. theres plenty of other guys i would draft rather have than him.

  9. Heron says:

    It sounds like it would be a better situation for him to fall down the first round into a low seed playoff team, that way he could lead a second unit as a scorer while developing the rest of his game. Could fit well with bucks, pacers or memphis

    • m00duck says:

      Yeah, let Bucks draft him and suddenly there are three ball hogs plus man-child Sanders.

  10. Insider says:

    I have been following shabbaz and his basketball games very closely for the past 2 years. The guy is NOT the next Kobe or Labron or anyone big in the NBA for that matter. He is a HYPE created by a CHEATER FATHER who pulled every string to make this wanna be someone that he is NOT.

    UCLA and other schools have kids on their roster that will blow the baz off the court. The problem is that those kids did not a CHEATING FATHER who was intent on doing everything ILLEGAL to get his kid an upper hand over other kids HIS AGE.

    Only time will tell how he will end up but from the looks of the things in the past, the kid is not going to get much playing time. He will be sent to D league and cut from the team after second season and shipped to Europe or China.

    The UCLA fans COULD NOT WAIT for his to leave the team. He was NOT liked that much at UCLA due to the fact that he was NOT a TEAM PLAYER.

    • Mike says:

      Wow, you certainly seem to have everything figured out. Maybe you should be one of Jim Buss’s Bar Guys.

      But you do bring up what I think is the core of Shabazz’s problem: his father. Being brought up by somebody like this doesn’t exactly give you an inside track on character. Bazz is a great athlete – there’s little to debate about that. His problem is he’s clearly spent his entire life insidethis weird bubble where he’s the center of the universe and character/morality whatever you want to call it has no bearing on any decisions being made.

      Can he learn what he’s missed once he gets away from his father? That’s the big question. If I were a GM with a lottery pick I’d rather take a chance on a less gifted athlete that didn’t have this baggage. On the other hand, I hope the kid turns himself around – would be a really sad waste of talent.

  11. baller23 says:

    This is ok! he will end up just like Harden and his game is similar to Harden as well that’s crazy!

  12. m00duck says:

    Dear Shabazz, I wish you to be picked by SAS, Popovic will tell you how to be a man, or will send you straight to the D-League.

    • Jon says:

      Popovich is a leader of choir boys, not a leader of men

      • David says:

        They are winning a lot every year, results speak for itself. It takes men to win among men. I guess non choir boys are actually losers.

      • Get serious says:

        That couldnt be further from the truth. What ignorance…

      • Mike says:

        Perhaps u would like to express that opinion to Pops. If ur tough enuf , u play for him. Prima donas need not apply.

  13. m00duck says:

    Every star in the NBA is either a freak athlete or a good character smart guy.
    Ask LeBron, now he is a man, but he had to put in decline his selfish nature plays.

    There are many selfish underachieving so-called-stars in the NBA like Monta I will not defend anything Ellis, his teammate Look how I do it Jennings, They never let me play how I want Cousins and so on.

    They will NEVER EVER win anything big as long as they are who they are.

    And now look at Lillard. He is a man. He makes right descisions on the court, he is a natural born leader. He’s young, not so athletic as, say, Rose was or Westbrook, but he is good because who he is.

    Shabazz will never be a good player with his mindset. He is Maggette №2.

  14. Grizzlies Fan says:

    Good for him if he falls in the draft……could land on a contender instead of a perennial loser!

  15. clone says:

    A probable hit to his bank account, a probable boost to his carreer…
    Out of Top 20, he can fall with a big franchise and bring that scoring of the bench that contenders need..

  16. Renzo says:

    As he keeps falling, he could land in better teams. Maybe this can help him to find his way.

  17. J says:

    Shabazz? is that even a name ? if u want it to be i suppose

    • Wow says:

      yea you fool. its called an international name. let me guess what ignorant place you’re from…

      This kid can develop well.

      • Ignorant Wow says:

        Nice criticism. Didn’t know a place could be ignorant.

      • J says:

        i knew it was international i was just saying that to some it would sound wierd like hedo or tayshaun or lebron thats all

  18. B Kid says:

    This kid is a gamer. There’s more positives than negatives with Shabazz. Heads will roll for the team GM that misses the boat!

  19. Another Heat Fan says:

    so.what.if.he.is.20?

    sigh

    • David says:

      Imagine you’re 19 years old and playing among 17 year olds in high school; two years difference is a big deal when you’re still growing physically and mentally.

      • aaaaaa says:

        He was listed as 19, you’re adding a year to help your case. I’m not completely disagreeing with you, but it’s also not as bad as you’re making it

  20. Kobe says:

    The next Kobe Bryant

  21. Mr.Chill says:

    The guy just needs to relax and try to be more co-operative. While the managers and such need to stop being so hard on the guy.