Monday, June 23, 2014

Examining E'Twaun Moore's 2013-2014 Magic Season

Over the course of the Magic's offseason, leading up to the NBA Draft, I'll be analyzing all of the Orlando players that are still on the roster and how they did in their 2013-2014 campaign. I'll be going in ascending order based on games played. I won't be assigning grades or scores.

Previously in the series:

Andrew Nicholson
Arron Afflalo
Kyle O'Quinn
Jameer Nelson
Tobias Harris
Nikola Vucevic
Doron Lamb
Jason Maxiell
Ronnie Price
Dewayne Dedmon

Let's take a look at E'Twaun Moore.

It's a bit of a surprise to note that E'Twaun played the 3rd-most games on the Magic roster this year. Moore just didn't seem to have much of an impact on the vast majority of contests. The 3rd-year guard posted a career-high 0.8 steals per game and 42.8 FG%. Everything else decreased along with Moore's minutes. Credit to that goes to Victor Oladipo's solid rookie season.

The 25-year-old averaged about 19 minutes per contest this season - three less from last year - in his 79 games played. Moore's points per game dip from 7.8 ppg last year to 6.3 ppg mirrored that. His 3 starts are a huge drop-off from the 21 contests he began last year. Moore's 35.4 3PT% is slightly better from his first season in Orlando, but still not good enough to warrant extra playing time. Not when his assist-to-turnover ratio was a below average 2-to-1. 

A lot of inconsistencies above, but that shot chart is still better than last year's. It's weird though that his worst 3-point spots last season were his best ones this season and vice versa. Perplexing to say the least. When the Magic went into tank mode post All-Star Break, E'Twaun got more minutes and that extra parquet floor time resuscitated his statistics for the overall season. Going unnoticed is the Purdue Boilermaker's immense improvement in his midrange shot. Moore is still weak in the paint, but he did slightly improve. His patented running floater is my favorite part of his game.

There's not much to like though about what E'Twaun can provide Jacque Vaughn's coaching staff. Moore can't be depended on to be a long-term ball handler, he's too short to defend most shooting guards, Moore's lateral mobility and lack of speed isn't acceptable to succeed against most point guards, his shooting is awfully erratic, and he hasn't been anywhere close to the tenacious defender that he was in his rookie season with the Celtics. 

Coach Vaughn on E'Twaun following a November 6th win over the Clippers: "He's a gamer for one. He loves playing the game of basketball and he loves competing. That gives him a good chance when he steps out on the floor. He's not afraid of the moment either. I don't know if it's his background and the fact that he's not afraid of the moment. Two big 3s by him tonight. We put him on Jamal Crawford, one of their better 1-on-1 players. Hopefully it shows the confidence that I have in him."
Moore's game logs indicate that E'Twaun has just been ridiculously inconsistent. Moore tallied 11+ points only a dozen times this season out of 79 games. That's not good enough when E'Twaun has been given countless opportunities to be the seventh or eight player man off the bench. It's why fans and some media clamored for Doron Lamb and even Ronnie Price to take up much of Moore's court time. 

Magic GM Rob Hennigan has brought a lot of guard prospects into Orlando recently in preparation for Summer League, and that spells bad news for E'Twaun. The franchise has to make a decision on whether or not to utilize this summer's qualifying offer to retain Moore's services. So a decision on whether or not Orlando will spend about $1.15 million to keep E'Twaun for the '14-'15 season will be made very soon.

If a decision has to be made between keeping E'Twaun or Doron Lamb, my preference is retaining D-Lamb. Lamb is cheaper, younger, slightly bigger, and a better defender than Moore. E'Twaun is no longer the 23-year-old intriguing combo guard prospect that he was when he arrived from Boston 2 years ago. If there are better options in Hennigan's eyes to replace E'Twaun - there are - then Moore's Orlando days are numbered.

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