March 16, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UCLA Bruins guard/forward Shabazz Muhammad (15) commits a charging foul on Oregon Ducks forward Carlos Emory (33) during the first half of the championship game of the Pac 12 tournament at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Oregon defeated UCLA 78-69. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Shabazz Muhammad Done Wrong

Hey, don’t look now, but that D-League threat Flip Saunders threw Shabazz Muhammad’s way made Deadspin. Hooray for offseason spats and silliness. (Can we please get something satiating over here? I’m reading tweets about late night NBA Classic Playoff marathons. Just nowhere with this stuff.)

Anyway, the Deadspin folks are Shabazz apologists. So they find ways to rationalize stuff. So at least they’re consistent in calling the criticism irrelevant. The only issue I would take with that — becuase, as long as I’m in a linking frenzy, I basically had the same take on Flip’s tough-guy stance yesterday — the reason Deadspin seems to think Shabazz gets too much flak is because he’s under-appreciated.

Why would Deadspin think that way of an inefficient chucker? I’m not going to venture a guess as most eye-testers gave the Wolves positive marks often using the terms “steal” and “perfect fit” — but the rationale for the take on the D-League threat is a bit odd, on second read…

So this is less a prediction than a threat. And as threats go, it’s empty, and pointless. NBA teams generally don’t send down first-rounders to the D-League unless they’re grooming them (which the Thunder did last year with Jeremy Lamb, for example, and which is not what this seems to be) or giving up on them; the guys who do get sent down as punishment (Hasheem Thabeet, Royce White) tend not to return with the same team. The D-League probably wouldn’t humble Muhammad, because the D-League is for guys who are already humble and hungry. He’d just do what he does, shooting and scoring and inspiring gripes from people who wish he would do more.

But what a demotion would do is show that Minnesota has done its due diligence with a player it concluded it missed on, and keep Muhammad’s trade value from tanking when he’s stuck on the bench in January. And even the shadow of a demotion might be enough for appearances. Shabazz, buddy, if you learn where Des Moines is, recognize that you probably don’t need to get to know Minnesota.

See how that gets all muddled? In order: the grooming, the punishment, the pointless humbling ‘inspiring gripes from people who wish he would do more.’

And then: the due diligence of D-League assignments, recognition that Minnesota’s wings are all of the sudden a crowd pushing Shabazz back in line, and then the acknowledgment that he’ll end up elsewhere.

I mean, you think you know someone.

Honestly, the depth chart has been charted in other parts of the internet and it appears as though opportunities will be available for Muhammad when injuries strike (or clutch and grab defense equates fouling out) — both realities that have been known to happen around these parts. However, the idea Shabazz isn’t given his due because all he does is shoot and score is ridiculous as criticizing a guy who hasn’t played a pro game yet. The reason for the griping isn’t wanting more variety of production, it’s wanting more efficient production.

Projected production, of course.

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Tags: D-League Flip Saunders Minnesota Timberwolves Shabazz Muhammad

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