Great offense beats great defense in basketball, and Shabazz Muhammad has the potential to be a great scorer.
The former ESPN No. 2 prospect in the class of 2013 has fallen to No. 20 in Chad Ford’s final mock draft. Despite the possibility that Muhammad suffers a Perry Jones-like slide on Thursday night, several lottery teams should think long and hard about selecting him.
Ford wrote the following of the 20-year-old small forward in that final mock.
While it's clear that Muhammad was overrated at the start of the season, it's less clear why he's having a hard time finding a landing spot somewhere now. He's still a great scorer, a good offensive rebounder and plays really hard. But his flaws (no right-hand handle, trouble shooting off the bounce, so-so lateral quickness) are being blown out of proportion. Yet, this is where Muhammad is on the eve of the draft. He's going to be playing with a very large chip on his shoulder next season.
Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld went as far as to say that Muhammad is now underrated.
This time last year, Shabazz Muhammad was so hyped up that he was overrated. Now, he has been criticized so much that he's underrated.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) June 27, 2013
The UCLA product scored 17.9 points per game with the Bruins this past season. Only one freshman in the entire country, Jahii Carson of Arizona State, averaged a higher mark.
Here are the lottery teams who could use Muhammad’s scoring ability.
No. 10 Portland Trail Blazers
Is Muhammad a lottery talent?
Not a single player on the Trail Blazers bench averaged more than 6.9 points per game last season and not a single wing averaged more than 4.0 points. Muhammad would almost definitely become Portland’s go-to reserve scorer.
Cody Zeller may be the more talented prospect, but the Trail Blazers just drafted Meyers Leonard, and selecting the Indiana big could signal an end to the vastly improved J.J. Hickson's time in Portland with him being free agency-bound.
No. 11 Philadelphia 76ers
Evan Turner failed miserably to fill Andre Iguodala’s shoes in Philly. He only averaged 13.3 points per game last season. Combine that with Nick Young and Dorell Wright becoming unrestricted free agents this summer—along with Jason Richardson being 32 years old—and the 76ers need scoring help on the wing.
No. 13 Dallas Mavericks
Dirk Nowitzki, O.J. Mayo, Vince Carter and Shawn Marion were the Mavs’ four leading scorers this past season. Nowitzki and Marion are 35 years old, Carter is 36 and Mayo is an unrestricted free agent. Dallas needs a scoring boost everywhere, even if Mayo re-signs.
David Daniels is a breaking news writer at Bleacher Report and news editor at Wade-O Radio.