Flip Saunders goes IN on Shabazz Muhammad
Some believed the Minnesota Timberwolves got a steal when they selected Shabazz Muhammad with the last pick in this year’s lottery. The former top prospect has some off-court problems, sure, but most believed he’d be fine as long as he was able to keep his nose clean at the next level.
That unfortunately hasn’t been the case for Muhammad, however. The 20-year-old UCLA product struggled at the NBA Summer League for the Timberwolves and didn’t help himself by being the only player kicked out of this year’s NBA Rookie Transition Program. The violation was minor — he reportedly had a female guest in his room that wasn’t pre-approved by the faculty — but it was just the latest in what’s been a tough year for the former Bruin.
And, if it doesn’t get better soon, things could get worse: New general manager Flip Saunders was pretty blunt when talking with KFAN’s Dan Barreiro regarding the Muhammad situation:
“In our league, you have to be disciplined and being ‘disciplined’ is being able to adhere to whatever rules are given and you gotta abide by the rules,” Saunders said on the local radio host’s show. “So that’s been disappointing. But when I talk to him, he’s either gonna learn the rules and learn to abide by things with the big boys or he’s gonna really quick learn a geography class: where Des Moines is in the NBDL down in Iowa.”
The idea of using the D-League as punishment isn’t a good one — I’ve argued that many times in many places in the past — but playing for the Iowa Energy might be just what Muhammad needs in order to get a reality check. Players in the D-League isn’t for the mentally weak and the veterans that have scratched and clawed just to get into the world’s most-scouted league would likely put a target on the back of a player many considered to be a potential top pick during his younger years.
If Muhammad is assigned to the D-League and thrives with the reality check, it’ll be worth it and likely a humbling experience. If he takes the assignment as punishment and blows it off, however, it’ll be one more bad step in a career that’s beginning to have too many for a 20-year-old rookie.
I think he is going to get a shock once everyone starts coming down on him hard. He isnt the golden boy star player anymore. He is just another guy on the court now. IF he can realize that, get his handle a little improved and keep getting his weight down, I think he will be a mighty fine player for Minny. If he keeps working on his body and game, he should at least be a serviceable 3 and D player.
"he’s gonna really quick learn a geography class: where Des Moines is in the NBDL down in Iowa.”
Now that's some funny sh*t right there.
Hahah Nice job by Flip
I really applaud Flip for taking this approach with Bazz. He has bascially told him to shape up or pack for Iowa. It's all in his court on whether he wants to act like a true professional athlete or continue down the road that he is going.
The Iowa Energy is the perfect place for him. He has been in the spotlight for 3 years, so a place where he can go develop his game with minimal attention in a small city away from the spotlight is perfect for him. I would send him down there for 3 months and then decide after that what I would want to do with him. I would give him things to work on and monitor him close. I wouldnt do it as a punishment, I would do it to prepare him for a future with the team.
I'm obviously not around bazz and I don't see what he does daily, but I don't get what all the negative talk and drama about is off the court life is about. Flip is a pro so maybe he sees reason for concern that is legit , but based on info that is out there, what all has he done to raise such character issues? He pouted 1 time after he didn't get to take a game winning shot at ucla and that's it. I follow the ucla program closely and there was never one single report of him having issues from the coach the media or anyone else. He is a good locker room guy who was well liked and had a rep for working hard. Now he has a girl in his room which is a no no and a mistake, but does anybody honestly find having a girl in his room as some alarming thing? If you do, then you probably don't know about pro athletes too well. Drugs, alcohol, work ethic have all never once been brought up with bazz. I can totally see the reasoning behind ridiculing him for on the court play. I can fully see the reason to criticize his potential as pro based on skills and what not. But I really think this character thing is people being bored and trying to create a story. Can u imagine if the 1980's had this type of media surrounding NBA players. Jordan was sleeping around. Magic was bragging about all the girls he slept with behind his wife's back. Karl Malone raped a 14 year old when he was in college. Larry bird had a child with a girl and then refused to acknowledge or spend any time with the child even though she never wanted a penny and simply wanted a father. I know I'm rambling here, but it's just crazy how the media picks these guys apart these days.
Those are the three of the best players all time, jordan, bird, magic. Jordan had a huge gambling problem too. The super stars now arent that bad because of they were everyone would know about it. Lebron would be getting hammered by the media if he gambled half as much as Jordan. Lebron is married to his high school girlfriend.
Karl Malone didn't rape the girl he had two children by her.
He had 2 children with one girl when he was 17. At 20 when he was in college he impregnated a 13 year old and never raised the kid. In fact, that child made it to the NFL and he said the one time he met Karl, Karl told him it's too late for me to be your father, you need to make your own money. Real class act. I don't doubt it was consensual, but sex between a 20 and 13 year old is rape.
Muhammad definitely is getting picked on. But I do believe that the age thing was significant, and several NBA teams admitted that it reflected poorly on his draft stock. Now Bazz was a kid, following his father's lead and I'm sure he's learned from the experience. But like anyone who is being distrusted, the person in question has to work to disprove rumors.
Shabazz will be fine. He's never been known to be a trouble maker or an undisciplined dude. He was in the spotlight real early in and things(like the age thing and missing the first few games at ucla) happened that weren't so positive, became bigger issues than they ever would have if he was anyone else in this draft. Had he been the #20 ranked high school player going into ucla this would all be a non issue. It's not good, but things happen and he'll learn from these things. He's got a chip on his shoulder already, which is scary considering he was said to be the best prospect hands down in this draft class a year ago. He's talented and he's worked hard to get back in shape and prove people wrong. He'll be fine and he'll be a good NBA player. Mark it. On a limb maybe but, he'll be top 3 in RoY award this year. My bold-ish prediction.
Would've been better if Flip had said that to Shabazz Muhammad FIRST before trying to blast him on the radio. Some things are better left said behind closed doors. If Flip Saunders is going to be this type of GM that gets upset over something like this then I expect him to trade Bazz in the near future
If Iowa is half as bad as Minnesota then I think Coach will really get through to Shabazz.
If Flip is threatening to send Shabazz to Iowa then he should have probably exiled Derrick Williams to Siberia by now.