Shabazz Muhammad last in total minutes among active 2013 1st Rd picks
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Shabazz Muhammad's rookie year has been spent mostly in the background.
Apart from a four-game stint in the NBA D-League, the Timberwolves' top draft pick in 2013 (14th overall) has primarily watched from the bench in the first half of his rookie season, logging minutes sparingly in the closing stretches of lopsided games.
This isn't a new revelation, but it is interesting when you compare Muhammad's playing time to his fellow first round picks.
Muhammad currently ranks last in total minutes (48) among the 27 active first round picks from the 2013 NBA draft. He is averaging four minutes in the 12 games he has played - all but one of those games was a win or loss by 10 points or more. Muhammad has totaled 14 points (5-of-21) and nine rebounds.
While coach Rick Adelman has praised Muhammad's performance in practice, playing time for the rookie has been hard to come by. That is in part due to the Wolves' multiple options at small forward and power forward. Reserve forwards Chase Budinger, Dante Cunningham and Luc Mbah a Moute are all ahead of Muhammad in Adelman's pecking order.
Adelman has used a gradual approach not only with Muhammad, but also with center Gorgui Dieng, the Wolves' other first round pick (21st overall). Dieng's 122 minutes in 22 games ranks only three spots above Muhammad at No. 24 among 2013 first round selections.
Wolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders opted to send Muhammad on D-League assignment in early January to give him more of chance to build up on-court experience. The 6-foot-6, 222-pound forward took advantage and put up lofty numbers in his brief stay with the Iowa Energy (24.5 points, 9.8 rebounds).
Saunders cautioned when he recalled Muhammad on Jan. 13 the rookie would likely still be facing limited playing time, but noted, "he proved that no question he's going to be a player in this league."
Since returning to Minnesota a week ago, Muhammad has played in one of the Wolves' three games - a 98-72 romp over Utah (7 min, 2 pts, 1 reb, 1 ast, 1 to)
Phoenix's Alex Len, the fifth overall pick, and C.J. McCollum, who made his debut for Portland on Jan. 8 after sitting out the season's first two months with a foot injury, rank between Dieng and Muhammad in total minutes at Nos. 25 and 26.
2013 NBA Draft first round picks - Total minutes (Through Jan. 20)
1. Victor Oladipo (Orlando, No. 2) - 1302 minutes, 41 games
2. Michael Carter Williams (Philadelphia, No. 11) - 1038 min., 30 games
3. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Detroit, No. 8) - 960 min., 39 games
4. Ben McLemore (Sacramento, No. 7) - 936 min., 39 games
5. Trey Burke (Utah, No. 9) - 930 min., 30 games
6. Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee, No. 15) - 812 min., 35 games
7. Tim Hardaway Jr. (New York, No. 24) - 751 min., 40 games
8. Cody Zeller (Charlotte, No. 4) - 717 min., 43 games
9. Tony Snell (Chicago, No. 20) - 684 min., 35 games
10. Steven Adams (Oklahoma City, No. 12) - 630 min., 41 games
11. Kelly Olynyk (Boston, No. 13) - 599 min., 32 games
12. Mason Plumlee (Brooklyn, No. 22) - 498 min., 32 games
13. Shane Larkin (Dallas, No. 18) - 377 min., 29 games
14. Archie Goodwin (Phoenix, No. 29) - 369 min., 35 games
15. Anthony Bennett (Cleveland, No. 1) - 321 min., 31 games
16. Dennis Schroder (Atlanta, No. 17) - 200 min., 16 games
17. Rudy Gobert (Utah, No. 27) - 198 min., 19 games
18. Otto Porter Jr. (Washington, No. 3) - 184 min., 19 games
19. Reggie Bullock (LA Clippers, No. 25) - 178 min., 18 games
20. Solomon Hill (Indiana, No. 23) - 144 min., 16 games
21. Andre Roberson (Oklahoma City, No. 26) - 142 min., 17 games
22. Sergey Karasev (Cleveland, No. 19) - 138 min., 17 games
23. Nemanja Nedovic (Golden State, No. 30) - 134 min., 21 games
24. Gorgui Dieng (Minnesota, No. 21) - 122 min., 22 games
25. Alex Len (Phoenix, No. 5) - 83 min., 12 games
26. C.J. McCollum (Portland, No. 10) - 82 min., 6 games
27. Shabazz Muhammad (Minnesota, No. 14) - 48 min., 12 games
Note: First round picks Lucas Nogueira (Atlanta, No. 16) and Livio Jean Charles (San Antonio, No. 28) are playing in Europe this season, while Nerlens Noel (Philadelphia, No. 6) has not played due to his recovery from a torn ACL.