2017 Offseason, Player Analysis

To Bazz or Not to Bazz?

The Wolves are almost done. They have their starting 5. They have a decent three-man bigs rotation. They have star power. They have their starting and (presumably) backup point guard. Of course, they have their coach and staff in place as well.

The one thing they still badly need: wing depth. Could Shabazz Muhammad be that guy? Jamal Crawford has thoughts.

Bazz even responded!

This is fun to see. At this moment, unless Nemanja Bjelica plans to play some 3 next season, Crawford is the only wing on the Wolves’ bench. While seeing some social media recruitment is entertaining, how it would look on paper is another story.

The Wolves’ biggest need remains three point shooting. Shabazz Muhammad and Jamal Crawford are both willing three point shooters, but their ability to land on a consistent basis has never been there. Muhammad’s sample size is smaller, but he shot 17 percent from deep after the All Star Break for the Wolves last season. Crawford has more of a history of being a dynamic offensive threat, but has lost some of his muster over the past few seasons. Last year, he actually shot 40 percent from deep after the All Star break, in addition to his overall numbers. Still, relying on him as your team’s best three point shooter off the bench is not a winning recipe in that regard. Adding Bazz would not help either. Not in that way.

The things Bazz brings, of course, involve around the energy he plays with. He’s as good at getting inside buckets as he is grabbing the offensive boards on the ones that he misses. He has a nose for the rim and is good at getting there. Defensively he (and Crawford) is not where Thibs likes his players, and his passing has never really been there. But his energy and nose for the basketball has always been there, and it’s what makes him an interesting player. This play is kind Bazz’s contributions at his best, in a nutshell.


Nothing miraculous is happening here, but his nose for getting the ball off the glass is (partially) why the ball bobbles so much, why it ends up in his hands, and why he’s able to body up and score. When he’s hot, he has his three pointer going too, but at this point, it’s tough to rely on.

The other key to this potential signing: if he really is willing to go for the minimum, what other players are there that are better? The only names that come to mind immediately are Tony Allen and Anthony Morrow; niche guys that have one skill they excel at (defense for Allen, three point shooting for Morrow).

Muhammad has no one skill that gets him his paycheck. It can certainly be argued that, for a bench spot with limited minutes like this one, that a specialist like Allen or Morrow should be the priority.

Whether or not Tom Thibodeau and Scott Layden end up pulling the trigger on Bazz (this of course, is all assuming that Bazz wants to come back at all), the Wolves will have some serious question marks coming into the season surrounding their wing depth. Thibs plays his stars big minutes, and this team has two star wings, so minutes won’t be ample for the bench. But not having good bench production was a killer for the Wolves in instances last year.

Bazz is far from a perfect player, but he would, at the very least, do what Wolves fans are used to. The good and the bad.

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3 thoughts on “To Bazz or Not to Bazz?

  1. He is a solid option for the vet minimum. Not a lot of choices at this point, any pick is going to have warts. Bazz seems as good as any other choice.

    Another option that would be good to look at would be Foye.

  2. I’m not good with the financial/business aspect of the NBA. Still, as I understand it, Shabazz being a free agent this long after his release by us does not bode well for him getting more than the minimum. As far as someone picking him up late, anyone willing to pay or really wanting to snatch him up would have by now, right? I think teams are interested in him cheap and he’ll end up on a roster, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to see a lot of money.

    I feel bad for Shabazz, He has some real talent. But he was not able to really stick with us–we were willing to let him walk rather than signing him for more money and he was not able to build himself up enough to gain notice/confidence from other teams once he was a free agent. I understand why he’s in this position. He does a few odd things well, like scoring from that left block and taking it to the hole with abandon, but he can’t defend, is at times confused, will not pass, and is a bizarrely inconsistent 3 point shooter. He’s got to get more well rounded, even as a career bench guy. But there are pluses too. He plays really hard, tries to learn and get better, is tough and usually healthy, when hot he can add a real scoring punch, and he’s relatively young. These positives set him aside from the other pickings left on the likely minimum market. Those guys tend to be pure specialist, aging vets. With a player like Shabazz, you could still see marked growth and improvement. He’s not completely locked in as a what you see is what you’ll always get guy yet. And that’s an X factor that I think makes it worth looking into for us. We could use a less odd, more predictable and consistent ‘fill out the bench’ guy. But Shabazz could be a better roster investment than any of the remaining guys if you play your cards right. I don’t think we will, as Thibs’ record of coaching up young D challenged players has been near awful thus far, but it might be worth a shot with more vets on the roster. Shabazz is also comfortable and familiar here. Allen is also intriguing because there are a lot of ways in which we could use his toughness and D ability.

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