NBA Draft 2013: Why Shabazz Muhammad Seems Unlikely to Fulfill High Expectations

Tim Grimes@@nbafocusContributor IIIJanuary 11, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 28: Shabazz Muhammad #15 of the UCLA Bruins stands on the court in  the game with the Missouri Tigers at Pauley Pavilion on December 28, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  UCLA won 97-94 in overtime.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Going into the season, UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad was considered the best wing prospect in the country and a strong candidate to be the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.

In most scouts' eyes, Muhammad has fulfilled expectations.  After a slow start hampered by injury and suspension, Muhammad is leading UCLA in scoring and displaying the offensive virtuosity that made him such a coveted player coming out of high school.

His dominance is not likely to sustain itself into his NBA career, however.

While Muhammad has been a precocious scorer his freshman year, what is striking is how little of an effect he has had in other facets of the game.

Besides rebounding the ball at a decent clip for a wing player, Muhammad hardly does anything else but score.  He has not blocked a single shot all season.  He has averaged less than one assist a game, and he has only five steals through 13 games.

A college prospect who is an excellent scorer, but little else, rarely evolves into a great NBA player.  Statistical research done by analysts like Ed Weiland and John Hollinger has shown the importance of top prospects being able to carry their talents into other aspects of the game besides just their own offense. 

For a supposedly dominant player like Muhammad, the ability to record a significant number of assists, steals and blocks is important. Muhammad has come up terribly short in these categories so far.

Muhammad might turn into a good pro, but it seems unlikely he will ever turn into the superstar that many expect him to be.  Teams picking at the top of the 2013 NBA Draft will probably have better options available to them, whether they realize it or not.