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Knee-jerk Notes #6: Shabazz Muhammad

These are notes and observations meant to educate the Canis Hoopus community. In this post we'll look at ways Shabazz Muhammad can score playing in Flip Saunders' offense.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, the Minnesota Timberwolves and Milwaukee Bucks played a preseason game. These two teams met last Friday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where the Bucks defeated the Wolves - I don't recall the score at this time. On Wednesday, unlike the first meeting, the game was televised and henceforth available online this morning.

Shouts to Russian Bee for the torrents.

These are notes. This is one preseason game. We are observing a small sample.

Shabazz Muhammad

With Andrew Wiggins sidelined due to a bruised rear Shabazz Muhammad got the nod at small forward. Reviewing the game it appears not much is asked of Muhammad. Moreover, he crashes the boards and fills lanes in transition as would any other prototypical hustle player. Still, there are times Muhammad will see scoring opportunities set up by Flip Saunders' offense.


Shown above, after running around multiple screens Chase Budinger cannot create separation his defender. Rubio then improvises with the shock clock winding down by attacking the basket, forcing the defense to collapse. He kicks the ball out to Muhammad who connects on the three point shot.

Last season, Muhammad's Catch and Shoot field goal percentage hovered around an abysmal 30 percent. However, he only attempted 124 shots in 37 appearances - averaging less-than-one catch and shoot attempt per game. During his final season at UCLA, though, Muhammad was a 40 percent jump shooter off the catch and did his best work with his feet set in spot-up situations. Scoring in these scenarios accounted for 12.5 percent of his offense, says DraftExpress.

Shooting a respectable percentage from behind the three point line is good for floor-spacing. Allinall Muhammad's role in the offense is very limited, though he does himself a favor by hitting open jumpers like the one above. Below the points per shot chart is a simple example of play the Wolves have designed for Muhammad to score.


The left block is where Muhammad is most effective, many of you who are reading this already, probably, know that. It looks as though Flip Saunders has instilled at least one way of getting Muhammad the ball in the area where he most likely to score.


Above, Muhammad starts at the top of the key with Barea handling the ball to his left while the rest of the Wolves are on the right. Thaddeus Young comes across the lane to, presumably, fill the void on the left-block. Instead, he sets a screen which allows Muhammad to sneak past his defender and into the area where he thrives.



Shabazz, sometimes, gets lost on the defensive end. He loses track of his assignment from time to time - players make mental mistakes. With Muhammad, it's important he determine appropriate times to exalt effort doing said little things in games. Minimizing mistakes is key, especially when jockeying for playing time at the deepest position on the roster.