Wolves Tuesday: Muhammad makes the most of D-League debut


Timberwolves rookie Shabazz Muhammad, shown here in a file photo, went 9-for-13 from the field in Tuesday's NBA Developmental League debut with the Iowa Energy. He ended the day with 24 points.

Howard Smith/USA TODAY Sports

Shabazz Muhammad had been pining for minutes. He received plenty of them Tuesday and capitalized.

In his first substantial game action since preseason play, the Timberwolves rookie went off for 24 points and a series of energetic dunks in the Iowa Energy’s 133-121 win against the Bakersfield Jam as part of the NBA Developmental League Showcase. He hasn’t played more than about 9 ½ minutes in an NBA game yet, so Minnesota president of basketball operations Flip Saunders and coach Rick Adelman decided it’d be best to assign Muhammad to the team’s D-League affiliate.

Muhammad originally expressed reluctance to play for the Des Moines-based team but told reporters over the weekend he was excited for some actual playing time.

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He made the most of it Tuesday in Reno, Nev. — Muhammad’s home state — during the first of two Showcase games featuring Iowa.

The UCLA product went 9-for-13 from the field, 5 of 8 from the free-throw line, tallied seven rebounds and two assists and scored half his points in the third quarter as Iowa pulled away.

He also threw down four dunks, including a second-quarter alley-oop from Marquis Teague.

It had to be a refreshing feeling for Muhammad, who averages 3.8 minutes and 1.1 points per game in 11 NBA appearances to date. The Energy have another game in Reno on Thursday, travel to Fort Wayne, Ind. on Saturday and return home for a contest Sunday afternoon against Rio Grande Valley.

Saunders is expected to attend that game and check up on Muhammad’s progress in person.

Hummel, Price’s contracts can become guaranteed: Tuesday afternoon’s waiver deadline came and went, and Robbie Hummel and A.J. Price were still members of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

That means the two reserves’ contracts can this Friday become guaranteed for the rest of the season. The base salary in all NBA contracts becomes guaranteed for the year’s remainder Jan. 10, and Hummel and Price would have had to clear waivers by then.

Teams had until 4 p.m. CT to waive players they intended to remove immediately from their rosters.

Set to make $490,180 this season, Hummel has emerged as Minnesota’s top rookie. The 2012 second-round draft pick averages 11.1 minutes, 2.9 points and 2.7 rebounds per game and has started twice.

Price hasn’t had as much of an impact, appearing in 14 of Minnesota’s 34 games and averaging four minutes and 1.5 points per game. He’s in line to make $947,907 this year.

Both deals are for one season and include league-minimum salary figures.

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