MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As planned, the Timberwolves recalled top draft pick Shabazz Muhammad back up from the D-League on Monday.

The Timberwolves hope the chance he got there to get some much-needed minutes will pay off. In four games with the Iowa Energy, Muhammad averaged nearly 25 points and 10 rebounds a game. But the most important stat was a lot less glamorous — minutes.

He averaged 28 of them per game.

“First of all, it was really fun getting out there and actually getting to play,” Muhammad said. “I mean, getting to run and transition and stuff like that, and actually getting to play. It was a good experience for me, and I really liked the opportunity.”

Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders “thought he did a lot of good things.”

“Whether it translates right now, we don’t know,” he said.

A return to the Timberwolves likely also means a return to the bench. The No. 14 overall pick has played just 11 games for the Wolves — a total of just 42 minutes all season. And that’s largely because of his defense.

“You’ve got to know who you’re guarding and what they can do, and in this league, everybody’s a good offensive player,” Timberwolves Coach Rick Adelman said. “You can face a different situation all the time, and it just takes a little time to recognize what’s coming at you.”

Saunders said he loves his aggressiveness on offense.

“He does do something that we don’t have,” Saunders said. “He attacks. And so I think (Adelman) is looking at something that — if he can continue to improve defensively — then he might get an opportunity.”

Which is all Muhammad is hoping for, and hoping his time in the D-League helps him get.

“It gave me a lot of confidence coming into practice today,” he said. “I believe I can really help our team out if I just get the opportunity. But I mean, like I said, whatever the coaches do, I’m going to respect and wait my turn.”


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