Bucks Season Review: Shabazz Muhammad

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Overview:

Muhammad was a late season add into the Bucks roster, after fall out of the rotation in Minnesota he was waived March 1st. The Bucks signed him for the rest of the season, hoping he could provide a scoring punch off the bench. The signing was maligned on Bucks Twitter, because across the board analytics hated him. Shabazz was more or less signed to take on the Michael Beasley role from last year, another Bucks Twitter hate child. These two were both flawed players, but you can see how with good coaching they could contribute. Muhammad’s biggest issues are that he has turnstile tendencies on defense and black hole issues on offense. Muhammad historically has been amongst league leaders in shots per touch, meaning that when he gets it, you are not getting it back. He was once considered a top recruit before an age scandal drove down his stock as well as a lackluster season at UCLA. I do think this small fact explains a lot of his struggles though, he has struggled to go from that alpha player into a smaller role.

 

Highlights: Playoff Contributions & Efficient Scoring

The sample size is pretty small, with his signing coming after Jabari Parker made his return, but the Bucks were pretty good in Muhammad’s minutes. He was a positive according to net rating, win shares, and on-off. He was able to parlay this regular season play into a few playoff appearances. Two of his four appearances he scored 11 points and the Bucks were good with him on the court, the other two were barely appearances registering less than four minutes. The advanced statistics did not rate him well in the playoffs, he did not register an assist and went back to turnstile defense. Boy can he put the ball in the bucket though, per 36 minutes he scored 28.9 points per game, in the playoffs this number was up to 31. He nearly scores a point per minute, and he does it efficiently too, with above average True Shooting percentages in the regular season and the playoffs. Well there will always be a role for scorers, Muhammad will need to change his game to play any significant role on a good team.

 

Lowlights: Passing

I’d give you an example of why his passing is bad, but our records can’t find any example of him trying to pass. *ba dumm tsss*

 

Bad jokes aside, he really does not look to pass regardless of situation. Of all players to play 300 minutes this season only 9 had less assists than Shabazz. It could be 21 seconds left and he is well guarded in the mid-range, odds are that shot is going up. If he could be just a bit more selective it could work wonders for his career.

 

Grade for Season: C+

He exceeded expectations for himself here in Milwaukee. I believe in grading a player relative to that, but he still is not a good basketball player. Being better than his career averages is at best a 12-15th man, very close to out of the league but not quite out yet. He just does not currently have a skillset to routinely have a positive impact. Muhammad is still relatively young, I would bet one more team gives him a chance next season, to see if he can put together an above average year.

 

Role Next Season: Backup Forward Anywhere Else

I got this gut feeling Shabazz will not be back. He is not under contract and I think after how limited his minutes were here, he will seek out a better opportunity. For his sake I hope he tries to do that in Boston, Miami, San Antonio, or Houston. Somewhere with a good coach, who can get him into a role that fits his skillset. Milwaukee will probably go older at that spot, with someone who already has a well rounded game and can contribute positively next year. If Jabari is back they will have little need for a combo-forward anyways.

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