Shabazz Muhammad finally discovers scoring touch at Summer League
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Although it hasn't been for a lack of trying, Shabazz Muhammad's scoring prowess has come and gone during the Minnesota Timberwolves' stay at the NBA's Las Vegas Summer League.
However, Muhammad's scoring potential was on full display Wednesday.
After mediocre performances in his first three games in Vegas, Muhammad unloaded a game-high 17 points in the Wolves' 92-54 trouncing of the Sacramento Kings in the opening round of the Summer League's new double elimination tournament format
Muhammad, the Wolves' top pick draft pick (No. 14 overall), mixed flashes of clarity in the first three games with an inconsistent barrage of shots and unadvised decisions. In that span, he shot 34% from the floor (9-of-26) and turned the ball over seven times.
Those inconsistencies were greatly diminished against the Kings. Muhammad converted on six of his 10 shots, sinking three of four attempts from 3-point range.
He had the look of a player who had suddenly found a layer of comfort in a still foreign offensive scheme.
"It felt good. When I make that three when my shot is on I usually do really well, because I can drive to the basket too," Muhammad told Craig Sager in a post-game interview on NBA-TV. "That's one of the versatilities I have in my game. I was very confident in knocking my shot down tonight."
"The first three games were a wake-up call for me. It was really fast-paced. I'm really starting to get used to it, and just got to know that I've got to slow down as a basketball player and everything will be OK."
Muhammad's highlight moment came when reserve John Holland found the former UCLA swingman in transition and he finished the play with a left-handed dunk.
While it's not saying much given the setting, the Wolves looked the best they have so far in Summer League Wednesday. Holding leads has been an issue, but Sacramento showed no resistance against the Wolves. Minnesota's lead had stretched to 20-plus by the second quarter and stayed there for most of the night.
Fellow first round pick Gorgui Dieng followed up his strongest game of Summer League on Tuesday against Miami (six points, five rebounds, three steals) with a quiet performance. Dieng dolled out three assists and picked up two steals, but was held to one basket on four attempts.
Forward Robbie Hummel has been subdued since going off for a combined 30 points in the first two games. Hummel, who is a possibility in competition for last spot on the Wolves' roster, had three points against the Heat and followed with four in the Sacramento win.
Guard Lorenzo Brown, one of the Wolves' late second round picks, totaled a satisfying 11 points and six rebounds off the bench.
Of the players the Wolves brought into fill out their Summer League roster, former Illinois star Demitri McCamey has arguably been the most surprising standout. In the last three games, McCamey has shot 65%, with an impressive 8-of-11 mark from outside.
Against the Kings, he finished second on the team in scoring behind Muhammad with 15 points (6-of-9). The 24-year-old McCamey, who went undrafted in 2011, bounced around the D-League last season after a playing spending half of a year overseas.
The Wolves have a rematch Thursday at 7:30 p.m. CT with the D-League Select team, which beat them in the first game of their run in Vegas. The game will not be aired live.