Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images
Frankel’s 2013-14 projections
The good news for E’Twaun Moore is that there aren’t many players with an apostrophe in their first name, so even casual basketball fans can remember him. The bad news is he’s not going to receive as much playing time with Victor Oladipo in the backcourt. The good news for Magic fans is that it might not be such a bad thing.
Right now, E’Twaun is right behind Jameer Nelson on the depth chart for next season with Beno Udrih gone to New York, but that could change in a hurry depending on how training camp goes. Oladipo is the future, and while Moore might be just 24 years old, Ronnie Price and Manny Harris will compete for minutes in training camp.
With Aaron Afflalo coming back at the off-guard, expect to see coach Jacque Vaughn use Oladipo at both guard positions to give him some more run in what is basically another post-Dwight rebuilding season before the 2014 draft.
Among every guard in the league last season that played at least 20 games and averaged 20-plus minutes in those games, Moore’s 10.7 PER was only better than 9 other players, per Hoopdata. Of those players with a PER below Moore’s, only Austin Rivers (.431) — who had one of the worst rookie seasons in NBA history — and defensive specialist Avery Bradley (.464) had a worse True Shooting percentage than Moore (.473).
That is bad company to keep. Even Jacque Vaughn, not a celebrated shooter during his 12-year NBA career, had a .500 True Shooting percentage for his career. So maybe ‘Twaun will make his bones like Bradley and hound opposing points when Jameer, Oladipo, and Afflalo take a seat.
Unfortunately, Moore gave up 0.97 points per possession on defense last season, good for 400th in the league, per Synergy Sports. However, he’s pretty decent defending against the pick-and-roll ballhandler (0.81, 138th), which accounts for around 35 percent of the plays he defended. For comparison’s sake, let’s look at Bradley’s stellar defense, since he’s one of the rare players that shot worse than Moore from the field last season.
Bradley gave up just 0.73 points per possession, which was 16th in the league, per Synergy Sports. Avery was also ranked 19th guarding against pick-and-roll ballhandlers, giving up just 0.65 points per possession. That’s impressive and atones for his poor shooting (though with Rajon Rondo in the backcourt with him, get ready for a lot of opposing jerseys in the paint, Celtics fans). Moore doesn’t make up for his poor shooting on the defensive end.
When you watch Moore play, it’s not that he’s loafing on defense, or unable to grasp the offense, it’s that he’s 24 now, and after two seasons in the league and a chance to really show something last season when Nelson went down, he still shot under the Mendoza line (.399 percent). His defense isn’t otherworldly enough to account for that drop-off from a guard — the offensive engines in the contemporary NBA.
The Magic were actively worse last season when Moore was on the court. While starting 21 games last season and appearing in all 82 games, the Magic were 3.8 points per 100 possessions worse with Moore on the floor, per NBA.com.
While 24 is still a young age and he’s only played two seasons since being drafted out of Purdue in the second round by Boston, Moore has to show an improved offensive game more than anything else.
At least he’s got that apostrophe, and by most accounts he’s a good guy too, but from what he showed last year, he might not be an NBA-caliber guard.