In Chad Ford’s latest ESPN mock draft, he’s got the Boston Celtics taking Shabazz Muhammad at pick 16 if Dennis Schroeder is not available.
Analysis: Muhammad might be the most difficult player in the draft to place right now. After coming in with enormous hype, scouts are obsessed right now with the weaknesses in his game. Can he shoot off the bounce? Can he go right? Does he have the athleticism to defend? Is he a selfish player?
Muhammad is working hard to answer his critics and these workouts will go a long way to determining where he ultimately lands. But with Paul Pierce’s run with the Celtics nearing an end, Muhammad might be worth the risk here if the Celtics’ preferred target, Schroeder, already is off the board.
Muhammad seems like the possible pick here. It makes sense to draft another swingman with Paul Pierce on the way out of the door. Muhammad is also a player with tons of potential. If he’s able to be molded, he can be a really good player in this league.
Before this NCAA season Muhammad was touted as the #2 prospect in the country behind Nerlens Noel. His stock has fallen for multiple reasons on and off of the floor. It first started to drop when he was showing disgust that he didn’t get the ball on the last possession in a UCLA game early this season.
Then, the LA Times broke the story that he was actually 20 years old and not 19 like we initially thought. That really hurt his stock–not only because of the age, but people had begun to question his character and honesty.
With many possible mentors on the Celtics for Muhammad, I wouldn’t really mind this pick at all. If he falls this far it could be a good look in the Celtics’ future. He’ll have to work on his ball handling and his defensive game, but at 16 you will likely always get a work in progress.