Luc Richard Mbah a Moute | 2013-14 Profile

Wolves forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute goes hard to the basket during a 2013-14 game in Houston. Mbah a Moute joined the Wolves via a November trade that sent Derrick Williams to the Sacramento Kings.
Bill Baptist/NBAE/Getty Images
by Mark Remme
Web Editor
@markremme

Editor’s Note: Throughout the next month, Timberwolves.com will take a look back at the Wolves’ 2013-14 roster individually and look ahead to the upcoming offseason and 2014-15 campaign. Part V looks back on Luc Richard Mbah a Moute’s first year with the team.

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Luc Richard Mbah a Moute

SF/PF | 6-foot-8, 230 pounds

2013-14 season (with Wolves): 55 GP, 14.7 MPG, .447 FG%, 3.3 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 0.4 SPG

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute spent his first five NBA seasons with the Bucks before being traded to the Sacramento Kings in July 2013. That stop in Sacramento was far shorter than his stint in Milwaukee. The Kings and Timberwolves made a trade on Nov. 26 that sent Mbah a Moute to Minnesota in exchange for forward Derrick Williams.

Mbah a Moute’s key role with the Timberwolves from Day 1 was to bring a little extra defensive consistency to the table. He’s a UCLA product (and former college teammate of Kevin Love’s) that prides himself on being able to handle opposing teams’ top perimeter scorers, and that was the role off the bench that he assumed during his time with the Timberwolves this season.

He’s a player who definitely brought length to the Wolves’ perimeter reserves and gave them another option off the bench that could defend multiple positions. He didn’t log significant minutes with the Wolves—in fact, his 14.7 minutes per game were the lowest of his career—but he represented the top wing defensive option outside of starting small forward Corey Brewer.

One of his more unique moments of the year actually came off the court. Mbah a Moute, a native of Cameroon who also speaks French, hosted a group of 12 kids originally from Africa who were part of the Basket-club Nyonsais group from the south of France. The kids planned on seeing Mbah a Moute play in Milwaukee and in Sacramento previously, but when plans fell through due to his pair of trades to Sacramento and Minnesota, Mbah a Moute leaned the kids had already purchased plane tickets to America and decided to step in. He bought additional plane tickets for the kids to fly from New York to Minnesota as the Wolves took on the Bucks on March 11.

“I thought it was amazing. A lot of those kids are also from Africa originally, so just being fans of a fellow African in the NBA,” Mbah a Moute said. “My story, how I made it in the NBA. All that stuff, and also being friends with one of the guys in the club helped, too.” 

Mbah a Moute and Ronny Turiaf, who also speaks French, took the kids out to dinner the night before the game and also hung out with them on game day before the Tuesday night contest.

“That always brings a smile, you know?” Mbah a Moute said. “Having these kids come out, it’s fun. I’ve learned a lot about these kids since last year. But to have it happen actually is pretty special….They’ve done a lot of stuff there, and I plan to get there in the offseason to visit them there, so it should be fun, too.” 

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute’s Top Games

April 8 vs. San Antonio: Mbah a Moute had one of his most efficient games of the season when the Wolves beat the Spurs 110-91 in early April. Everything seemed to be clicking for the Timberwolves that night, and Mbah a Moute was part of that equation. He played just 19 minutes but finished the game 5-of-7 from the field, including one of his four 3-pointers (1-for-1) on the year. Throughout his time with the Wolves, he wasn’t leaned on much for his offensive contributions. But on this night, he had 11 of the Wolves’ 33 points off the bench against the defending Western Conference champions and a top championship contender.

April 13 at Sacramento: In his first trip back to Sacramento on March 1, Mbah a Moute played just four minutes and didn’t make a noticeable impact. His second trip back on April 13 was much different. Mbah a Moute scored 12 points—his season-high—and added three boards, one block and one steal. He shot 6-of-9 from the field and logged 25 minutes on the court. The Wolves lost, 106-103, but Mbah a Moute was the top scorer off the bench—the Wolves’ reserves were steady on this night.

Feb. 10 vs. Houston: Like teammate Gorgui Dieng (who had two 20-rebound games against Houston this year), Mbah a Moute seems to play some of his better games against the Rockets. Mbah a Moute put up a 10-point effort on 5-of-6 shooting on Feb. 10 at Target Center, including nabbing a pair of rebounds and adding an assist and a steal. Combine that game with his 5-of-7, 11-point outing on March 20 against the Rockets, and Mbah a Moute notched two of his six double-digit scoring efforts in a Wolves uniform against Houston this season.

Top Offseason Objectives

Mbah a Moute was brought in for his defense, and on this Wolves squad he wasn’t needed to produce points on the offensive end with a ton of regularity. But Mbah a Moute wasn’t able to hold his own on the offensive end throughout the year, often not commanding a ton of attention from opposing defenses as a result. The Wolves need Mbah a Moute to help contribute a bit more on that end of the court. His minutes were limited through much of the second half of the season, and part of that was likely because the Wolves needed to find combinations that could keep scoring in that second unit. But Mbah a Moute does provide a big frame and can certainly help provide a defensive spark. If he’s able to work on his touch around the basket and continue getting familiar with his Timberwolves teammates, he should be able to make more of an impact next season.

They Said It…

“Everybody knows my calling card is defense and guarding elite scorers. And from talking to everybody, I think that’s something this team probably could use, and I’m hoping to bring that to the table. I’m hoping to do that defensively and hopefully that will make us a better team.” — Wolves forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute after being traded to the Wolves in November