It Is up to the Front Office to Turn Davis’ “Down” Season Into a Positive

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Published: June 26, 2016

It is only slightly surprising to Pelicans fans that Anthony Davis’ name doesn’t appear on any of the 2015-16 All-NBA rosters, but it is still disappointing. As Ryan Schwann pointed out, can anyone honestly say that DeAndre Jordan or Andre Drummond were better, or played better than Anthony Davis this season? I seem to recall Davis dropping 59 and 20 on Drummond’s Pistons not too long ago…But while the team’s horrible season dragged its star down with the ship like an anchor tied to his ankle, good can come from Davis’ loss. Since he no longer qualifies for the Rose Rule, he’ll be making a couple million dollars less per season over the next couple years, and while the amount may not seem like much, it just might make a difference filling out the lower end of the roster.

With the Front Office’s recent hiring of Danny Ferry, you can expect that there is more focus on finding talent wherever they can. Getting some cost effective guys that fit in or uncovering a “hidden gem” that could relieve some of the burden from Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday would be huge for this team. Every team will have money to spend this summer, so who knows what will happen, but the losers of this offseason will be the teams stuck with huge contracts.

 

It might not cost as much to get a healthy, competitive team around Davis as some think. Here is one name you might not have considered for Pels that could come in and make a difference.

E’Twaun Moore (UFA) 

Moore appeared in 59 games this season for the Chicago Bulls, averaging 7.5pts, 2.3rebs, and 1.7asts in 21.4mpg. He’s a career 6-2-2 guy, shooting 42.7% from the field, and 36.9% from 3. Seems like your average role-playing guard. But taking a closer look, Moore has improved every year he has been in the league, and it shows on the stat sheet. This season he really put it together and was one of the only bright spots for a Bulls team that missed out on the playoffs.

He was Chicago’s best shooter hands down:

48.1 FG% 45.2 3pt% 54.1 eFG% were all best among rotation wings and guards on the team. His pull-up eFG% of 46.8 was best on the team, and his catch and shoot eFG% of 63.1 was one of the best in the league, right ahead of Kawhi Leonard. Just check out his shot chart:

Shotchart_1466273514046

Does this make Moore a better catch-and-shoot-er than Leonard? No, the shear volume of shots makes Kawhi way more impressive, but Moore can knock down shots no matter the moment.

He was 10/19 and 5/8 from 3 in “clutch” situations this season. He is very active on the offensive end and doesn’t seem to have any nerves for a guy who has been toward the end of the bench for a lot of his career.

He’s also an efficient driver, and has shown that he can finish with touch when he gets in the paint. He shot over 50% on his drives this year, and the last 2 seasons he’s shot about 62% within 3 feet of the rim and 50% from 3-10 feet out.

He’s been a capable ball-handler for the Bulls at times when he had to take on more responsibility due to injuries. Even so, turnovers were never an issue with him. In fact, his TOV% was better than every Pelican guard this season save Eric Gordon (who is primarily a catch and shoot guy).

So he can shoot and he can dribble, big deal. Hell, Toney Douglas can do that and he put up ok looking stats this year too. Well at 6’2″ with a wingspan of about 6’7″, Toney Douglas finds it hard to matchup on the defensive end with the athletic guards in the league. At 6’4″ with a wingspan of about 6’9″, Moore has the physical tools to match up with NBA guards. In no way is Moore a liability on the defensive end, he is a good defender, often described as the Bulls next best perimeter defender to Jimmy Butler. And when Butler went down to injury this year, Moore stepped into his role guarding the best opposing wing. Despite the added responsibility he still managed to shoot 48.5% from the field and 46.2% from 3 in the 22 games he started (while playing ~31mpg).

When he did get the chance to start with Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler, the two stars publicly endorsed the move. According to the Chicago Tribune:

Butler: “He’s huge at spacing the floor. He plays incredibly hard. I like him in the spot that he’s in.”

Rose: “I think he should be out there. He’s playing great.”

Moore beat Eric Gordon for his High School State Final, before heading to Purdue, where he would tie the school record in wins. Coming out of college Moore was an underrated all-around prospect who graded out highly in character and basketball intelligence. He is a guy who knows his role and sticks to it. He plays smart and within his capabilities, rarely over-extending himself, but at the same time is confident in his abilities. As a career 6-2-2 player at 27 years old who has never played more than 22mpg in a season, he should have a very affordable price tag.

Finding value in this crazy offseason will be a high priority, and you can bet the front office is doing their due-diligence in scouting every name out there, even off the radar guys like Moore.

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