Shabazz Muhammad Reportedly Drawing Trade Interest from Wizards

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistFebruary 22, 2017

In search of bench reinforcements at the trade deadline, the Washington Wizards have reportedly turned their attention to Minnesota Timberwolves swingman Shabazz Muhammad

According to ESPN.com's Marc Stein, the Wizards have "shown interest" in Muhammad with the Feb. 23 trade deadline less than 48 hours away.

Word of the Wizards' interest in Muhammad comes minutes after the Los Angeles Lakers reportedly agreed to send Lou Williams—a previous trade target of Washington's—to the Houston Rockets in exchange for a first-round pick and Corey Brewer, according to The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania

Muhammad is averaging a modest 9.4 points and 2.9 rebounds per game this season, but he's in the midst of his most efficient shooting stretch to date. 

Fifty-three games into 2016-17 campaign, Muhammad is shooting 47.1 percent from the field and a career-high 41.4 percent from three. As a point of reference, Muhammad's career conversion rate from beyond the arc sits at 34.5 percent. 

The former first-round pick has also stepped his game up of late. 

After he posted single-digit scoring averages in November and December, Muhammad averaged 11.4 points on 51.8 percent shooting from the field and 54.3 percent shooting from three. Through nine games in February, that scoring average has ticked up to 12.8 points per game. 

That kind of production is exactly what the Wizards need right now as they pursue one of the Eastern Conference's top playoff spots. 

Although John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and Marcin Gortat have expertly carried the Wizards to this point in the season, the bench has been lackluster to say the least. 

At present, the Wizards rank 29th overall in bench scoring (23.4 points per game) and 25th in bench three-point percentage (32.8), per NBA.com. 

Muhammad won't solve all of Washington's woes if he lands in the nation's capital, but he would be a welcome addition who could take some pressure off of the Wizards' big guns.

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