Projected lottery pick Shabazz Muhammad had an interesting performance at the 2013 NBA Draft Scouting Combine on Thursday in Chicago, struggling at times but displaying maximum effort at others (via @DraftExpress):
Shabazz Muhammad really struggling so far. Shots not falling and couldn't create much in the one on ones. Did compete defensively, though.— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) May 16, 2013
While official measurements won't be announced until after the combine is over, Muhammad reportedly weighed in at around 220 pounds according to Sporting News NBA writer Sean Deveney:
UCLA's Shabazz Muhammad said he has weighed in at 220, wants to be 218. He said he was 230 when he first took the court this year.— Sean Deveney (@SeanDeveney) May 16, 2013
The former UCLA Bruins star also participated in a handful of drills on Thursday morning as the small forwards took to the floor.
SLAM Magazine writer Dave Spahn pointed out Muhammad's poor performance during the shooting drills:
At the NBA combine in Chicago. Shabazz Muhammad shot 8-25 in spot shooting on round two. Not a great start for the lottery pick #NBAcombine— Dave Spahn (@DaveSpahn) May 16, 2013
Muhammad averaged 17.9 points per game on 44 percent shooting from the field and 38 percent shooting from beyond the arc last season at UCLA. He hit 71 percent from the foul line.
The prospect didn't let his off shooting day affect his defense, though (via @NBAGuru):
Shabazz Muhammad playing his tail off today. Really locked in on this defensive drill. Just dove on the floor as if it were The Finals.— NBA Guru (@NBAGuru) May 16, 2013
Here's a closer look at Muhammad during defensive drills (via @nbastats):
ESPN analyst Jay Williams was "impressed" by Muhammad on Thursday:
Impressed by Shabazz Muhammad with how hard he goes in drills. He has come into this combine in great shape. #NBADraftCombine— Jay Williams (@RealJayWilliams) May 16, 2013
Others, however, such as CBSSports.com senior basketball writer Jeff Goodman, felt that Muhammad failed to stand out from the rest of the small forward prospects during drills:
Shabazz Muhammad may be the lone lottery pick actually participating in combine. Right now he is blending in with everyone else.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanCBS) May 16, 2013
After Muhammad finished up his workouts, members of the media flocked to him for questions (via Jeremy Bauman):
According to Detroit Pistons beat writer David Mayo, Muhammad confirmed that he's 20 years old and that he isn't aware of how the confusion about his age began:
Shabazz Muhammad, on his age: "It says on my driver's license 1992."Insists he's 20 and has no idea how age flap started.— David Mayo (@David_Mayo) May 16, 2013
Overall, Muhammad's performance at the combine on Thursday was lackluster. He has to prove he can pull up and score consistently off the dribble, which is something he didn't do often at UCLA.
Muhammad's struggles also beg the following question: What does he have to gain by participating in the combine?
With so many top talents sitting out this week, it's surprising that a projected lottery pick like Muhammad would risk hurting his stock by showing up. Kudos for the effort, but it's unclear if it will be worth it in the end.
While Muhammad was seen as a lottery pick coming into the combine, his performance may have hurt his stock. Just ask Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix:
Don't be surprised to see Shabazz Muhammad start to plummet on draft boards. Hearing concerns about his mechanics and one dimensional play— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) May 16, 2013
In his latest mock draft, ESPN's Chad Ford (membership required) has Muhammad going No. 7 overall to the Detroit Pistons, a team in need of a scoring punch.
There's a good chance Muhammad will slide in mock drafts around the web following the combine, but he should still be a solid bet to go somewhere in the lottery. He's still one of the top scorers coming out this summer and has a winning attitude that scouts and coaches will love.
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