The Blazers could use some depth at every position. Is Shabazz the right pick for the Blazers to take?
Coming out of highschool as a top-3 recruit, Shabazz chose to play at UCLA this season. Originally thought of as a potential number-1 pick, a full season at UCLA did not help his stock as Shabazz has been projected to go as low as the 14th pick in the most recent mock drafts. So what went wrong?
At UCLA Shabazz was the leading scorer averaging nearly 18 points a game, but he often became too one-dimensional of a player. He would often ignore teammates when driving to the basket and his shot off the dribble was marginally worse that shooting off the catch. While he played SF for UCLA, he may translate better to a big SG as his driving ability and lack of length would fit better at that Position.
Shabazz style of play may not work with the style the Blazers have. Shabazz did not pass the ball at all (averaged less than 1 assist a game) and often stopped all ball movement when the ball touched his hands. The Blazers offense this season was built on movement and spacing with and without the ball. Shabazz has no problem cutting without the ball, but once he gets the ball he is almost always going to try to score, or he holds on to the ball way to long. This is counter-productive to the open style of basketball the Blazers have.
However Shabazz has a lot of value on the bench as a backup scorer behind Batum and Matthews. The Blazers would find more success with him as the primary scorer off the bench where he is more likely to beat his individual match-up and would not take the ball away from other, more efficient starters. His ability to finish in transition and bully others down low in the post would also be very beneficial to have on the bench. Also Shabazz is hardly known as an amazing 3-point shooter, and as such would not space the floor as efficiently as Matthews does currently.
In conclusion Shabazz would be a great value to have on the bench, but his inability to space the floor effectively or pass the ball around is not conducive to the style of play the Blazers currently have with their starters. That being said, if he can improve on those things he could find himself playing with the starters more in the future.
Sound off below. Do you think Shabazz is a good fit with the Blazers?