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Shabazz Muhammad: I’m the best player in the NBA Draft

May 20, 2013, 4:07 PM EDT

Minnesota v UCLA Getty Images

In the last three years and five of the last six, the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft has been a player who declared after only one year of college basketball (Blake Griffin being the exception). At one point, Shabazz Muhammad was rated as the the No. 1 incoming freshman, so it’s reasonable he would have thought he was in line to become the No. 1 pick.

After an up-and-down season at UCLA – and an eyebrow-raising offseason – Muhammad still believes in himself. Muhammad via Michael Lee of The Washington Post:

“I know I’m a great player. I’m a guy that believes he’s the best player in the draft.”

Let’s not demonize Muhammad for saying something a majority of – if not all – projected lottery picks are thinking about themselves. Most players rely on a supreme inner-confidence to push them through the challenges they face in such a high-profile endeavor.

But if any top prospect can least afford to say that aloud, it’s Muhammad. He was the center of UCLA’s offense, and although he filled that role pretty well, he’s not projected to handle such a big burden in the NBA, at least not immediately. Is he OK with that? The best player in the draft might want to remain a centerpiece, but the eighth-best player in the draft (or so) will have to come to grips with a lesser role in order to maximize his contributions at the next level.

  1. fearthehoody - May 20, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    As a UCLA hoops fan, he wasn’t even the best on the team!

    • fanofevilempire - May 20, 2013 at 5:29 PM

      wasn’t he pissed he didn’t get the last shot against Arizona and stormed off the court
      as his teammate sank the winning shot, great guy.

      • mytthor - May 21, 2013 at 2:08 AM

        Eh. Scottie Pippen was a hall of famer.

    • erckle31 - May 20, 2013 at 6:13 PM

      Who else was good on the Bruins? Honest question cuz I didn’t really keep up with UCLA last year. Anderson? Drew?

  2. moseskkim - May 20, 2013 at 4:41 PM

    No ur not.

  3. 32stork - May 20, 2013 at 4:54 PM

    He was good in a mediocre conference and that’s all he was. He’ll be average in the NBA and that’s all he’ll be.

  4. senorpapino - May 20, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    Based on his style of play, I would say his ceiling is a poor man’s Carmelo. He could be a 20 point scorer in the NBA, but I seriously doubt he will ever make any of his teammates better (as evidenced by his 27 assists in 29 college games).

  5. jkaflagg - May 20, 2013 at 5:05 PM

    You can see the talent and athleticism from this guy, but I struggle to see where he’ll have a huge impact as an pro…..in particular, he’s an awful defender, a so-so outside shooter and rebounder….seems like an OJ Mayo points-off-the-bench guy at best…..

    • cmehustle - May 20, 2013 at 5:26 PM

      I think that is a great comparison. He can jump a little more but yea I agree. Even still its not a bad player to be in this league.

  6. money2long - May 20, 2013 at 5:50 PM

    in case you guys want a closer look at shabazz

  7. topdawg4ever - May 20, 2013 at 6:24 PM

    He’s over-hyped from what I’ve heard. His conference play left a lot to be desired. Seems he may believe his own press…

  8. dlc618 - May 20, 2013 at 6:29 PM

    Who?

  9. nghtrder169 - May 20, 2013 at 7:02 PM

    Didn’t watch him play much but u guys who are UCLA fans is he overweight for a SG or does he just have a weird shape? Pictures make him look like he doesn’t really take care of his body

    • money2long - May 20, 2013 at 8:39 PM

      that may be because you are looking at a small forward. he likes to use his strength as an advantage. so the big body fits his style of play. some teams don’t know how effective his bullish style will translate to the man’s game of the NBA , and that’s one reason he has question marks.

      • nghtrder169 - May 20, 2013 at 8:42 PM

        Oh I see – hey ask the Knicks about Lance Stephenson and his bullish play in game 6, so it could work if thats part of his game especially against soft teams

  10. jthammerstix - May 20, 2013 at 8:39 PM

    Shabazz is wrong again :/

  11. kingghidora - May 21, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    The NBA has cleaned up a lot of the contact in their games so he won’t be able to use his body like he could in college. You have to be quick to play SF in the pros. I’m not sure he’s that quick. Guys like Archie Goodwin are quicker in about the same size frame. Much quicker.

  12. cccmonteiro - May 21, 2013 at 6:23 PM

    I don’t think he is… Wish he could prove me wrong, but he looks like a tweener G/F.

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