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Buzzworthy Picks 2021: Moses Moody

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Could a defensive-minded wing be the best option for the Charlotte Hornets?

Oral Roberts v Arkansas Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

The next prospect up is Moses Moody out of the University of Arkansas. He is a shooting guard/wing who is projected to be selected anywhere from eighth to tenth in this year’s draft.

Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer lists him as the 16th best prospect in the draft. He doled NBA comparisons of Mikal Bridges and OG Anunoby.

Most major outlets list Moody at 6’6”, but O’Connor has him listed at 6’8”. Regardless, the wing is well-known for his length and absurd wingspan (around 7’0”).

Moody spent his first two years of high school at various colleges in Arkansas, where he grew up. He reached the state championship game in both years, winning it in his sophomore season.

He transferred to Montverde Academy ahead of his junior season, where he was a part of what some consider the best high school team ever assembled. Moody shared the floor with Cade Cunningham, Scottie Barnes, and two top-ten prospects from the class of 2022.

After his senior year, Moody committed to Arkansas. He became the highest ranked prospect to commit to the school since Bobby Portis in 2013.

College

Moody played 32 games with the Razorbacks last season, starting each of them. He averaged 16.8 PPG, 5.8 RPG, and 1.6 APG in 33.8 MPG.

He shot 42.7% from the field and 35.8% from three-point range. Defensively, he averaged 1.0 SPG and 0.7 BPG.

The freshman led Arkansas to a 25-7 record, earning them a third-seed in the 2021 March Madness tournament. Moody led the way to a Final Four birth, where they were eventually eliminated by Baylor.

He decided to enter the 2021 NBA Draft following his first and only year at Arkansas. Overall, Moody had a pretty traditional one-and-done experience leading up to the draft.

Upside

Defense is far and away Moody’s best trait. His long arms and frame give him an immediate advantage on the perimeter against all types of offensive players, and his overall defensive intelligence allows him to be effective in the post as well.

Moody is great at finding the shooter, even when he is defending off the ball. He has a nose for blocking shots that would otherwise go uncontested.

Whether it’s rotating on a drive to contest a player in the paint, or rapidly closing out on a shooter, he has the ability to block some ridiculous shots. His great energy and intensity on that end contribute to this skill as well.

He also does a great job of sticking to players on the perimeter. Whether they choose to drive or pull up he remains glued to them on the defensive end.

As mentioned, his long arms help him contest almost any shot the defender tries to take. It is also a huge reason why he is able to block shots from crazy angles.

His off-ball awareness is another huge strength of his. Being able to play with such great energy on the ball, combined with solid off-ball defense makes him an extremely versatile defender.

Offensively, Moody thrives behind the three-point line. He’s never been a great shot creator, but he is lethal when spotting up from deep

Catch-and-shoot situations are definitely his greatest strength on the offensive end. He is quite literally the definition of a great three-and-D wing, with solid upside.

Downside

Defensively, there aren’t many holes in Moody’s game. The one area where he could stand to improve is his aggressiveness.

For the most part, his aggressive defense is the best part about his game. However, it can sometimes lead to unnecessary fouls when he is going for a hustle block or contest.

Most of the lackluster parts of Moody’s game are on the offensive end of the floor. Although he is a great three-point shooter off the catch, there isn’t much else in his offensive arsenal.

According to O’Connor, Moody has some struggles in nearly every other offensive category. He’s not great at finishing inside, struggles to generate his own shots, and takes too many mid-range shots instead of threes.

O’Connor also details how Moody needs to improve how quickly he shoots the ball. He has somewhat of a slow release on his jumpshot, a flaw that NBA defenders will pick apart.

While this doesn’t necessarily hinder him in the role of a three-and-D specialist, if he ever wishes to propel himself into stardom, Moody will likely have to develop into a better isolation player.

This is the sort of skillset most multi-year college players come into the league with - three-and-D capabilities with less upside. The comparison of Mikal Bridges is a perfect example of this, though Bridges has elevated his game to new heights this season.

The real worry for Moody is that his potential will only reach as high as a quality starter. If a team is looking for someone to blossom into a superstar, that idea might be a stretch.

Comparison

The comparison made to OG Anunoby makes a ton of sense, but the Mikal Bridges one sticks out as spot-on. From the crazy wingspan to the three-and-D skillset, the similarities are all there.

As previously mentioned, Bridges evolved his game even further this season, improving his driving abilities and expanding his skillset. However, when he came into the league he possessed a similar raw skillset to Moody.

Moody, however, will be entering the NBA much earlier than Bridges did. Bridges spent three years playing in college after being a redshirt freshman in his first year.

As a result, Bridges was 22-years-old when he entered the league, while Moody will be 19 turning 20. Due to this, Moody could progress faster than Bridges, or it could lead to silly mistakes as a result of inexperience. Only time will tell.

At his floor Moody could play similarly to the likes of Royce O’Neale and Justin Holiday. Both are really solid, scrappy defenders who can knock down three-pointers. Outside of that, however, they are fairly limited.

Summary

Moody would fit in perfectly with the Hornets. Although the team’s primary need is at center, adding depth at the wing position will be crucial this offseason.

After Gordon Hayward and Miles Bridges, the best options Charlotte has at the wing are Cody Martin, Caleb Martin, and Jalen McDaniels. All three are decent players, but an infusion of more talent would certainly help that rotation.

It would also allow the team to add talent without having to spend too much in free agency. Selecting the right players on draft night makes all the difference for young teams.

On top of that, Moody brings one thing to the table that the Hornets desperately need - defense. Although they weren’t the worst team in that regard, they still finished in the bottom half of the league in terms of defensive rating (112.0).

Adding a young player who specializes in defense would help finalize Charlotte’s young core for the future. Plus, having Moody on the wing for LaMelo Ball to pass to would be a beautiful connection.

The only downside to this selection for the Hornets is that Moody might not have superstar potential. If the idea is to find a second star to put next to Ball, the team could choose to go in a different direction.

However, if Charlotte wishes to prioritize team-fit and solid young pieces instead of overall potential, Moody would be a solid choice.