Shabazz Muhammad: Best NBA Comparisons for the Prized Prospect

Matt Shetler@@buccos12Correspondent IApril 11, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 28: Shabazz Muhammad #15 of the West team moves against Alex Poythress #22 of the East team during the 2012 McDonald's All American Game at United Center on March 28, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Prized high school recruit Shabazz Muhammad has yet to decide which college to enroll in this fall to continue his basketball career.

But while Muhammad is pondering his options, it's not too early to think about his NBA future—more importantly, how Muhammad compares as an NBA player.

Looking at Muhammad's game, one name immediately comes to mind and that's Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant.

Similar to Bryant, Muhammad has great size for the 2-guard spot, standing close to 6'6". Muhammad also has an incredible wing span that spans the 7'0" range, but the comparison to Bryant has more to do with his overall strength as a player.

Like Kobe, Muhammad can feast on scoring against smaller 2-guards because of his size, but also similar to Bryant, Muhammad has the strength. Several guards can get into the paint, but because of Bryant's strength, his conversion rate at the rim is much higher than a normal 2-guard.

The same goes for Muhammad right now. He can't be defended in the post because of his strength. He's adept at creating space and has an array of pump fakes and excellent footwork that can make him an elite scorer.

Both men attract the entire attention of opposing defenses.

Muhammad can score in his sleep. He impressed in the McDonald's All-American Game with a 21-point effort.

He's got the exact qualities that a young Bryant had coming into the NBA out of high school.

Muhammad's driven to be great, which separates him from the rest of the high school kids at his position.

He has an NBA body already and can fill it up in a variety of ways. The high school senior is an elite-level athlete with tremendous athleticism and speed. His first step is lightning quick, which makes him a handful to guard one-on-one.

Coming out of high school, Bryant had the same athleticism and was a terror one-on-one.

He has an advanced post game for a high school guard, attacks the baseline very well and has a light's-out pull-up jumper.

However, the biggest similarity to Bryant could be Muhammad's killer instinct. He wants the ball and has the desire to put opponents away.

He's the best shooting guard prospect to come along in quite some time. Everything about him resembles a young Kobe.

Being compared to a young Kobe is one thing, but carving out a Hall of Fame-type career like Bryant is something different all together. That's a lot to put on a young man's shoulders. At the end of the day, Muhammad could end up being compared to James Harden more than Bryant—and there's nothing wrong with being able to produce like Harden.

Bryant became a much different player from the time he entered the NBA until the present day. Muhammad has all the qualities that Bryant had when entering the league. Very few are talented enough to carve out the type of career Kobe has.

Muhammad may just have that type of talent, though.

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