The way Moses Moody was used at Arkansas was a pretty big warning for me. In an offense without an elite creator or ball-dominant player, the school's only one-and-done prospect in history couldn't become a high-usage PNR or isolation player. A year after watching Isaiah Joe get a solid run with the ball in his hands (even while teaming with ball-dominant Mason Jones), Moody was used in a very different way.
PNR ball handler possessions - 87
Percentage of team's usage - 16%
PNR ball handler possessions - 46
Percentage of team's usage - 10.2%
Barely used in an accidental one screen per game, there's serious limitations to the type of scorer Moody will be outside the role he excels at. Luckily for him, he's already fantastic at his role and should make some sort of positive impact at the next level as a 3-and-D wing. But how high that impact goes, and how high he gets drafted, depends on adding layers to his game that will raise his ceiling.
Getting on the Muss Bus
In the two years since being named head coach at Arkansas, Eric Musselman has prioritized pace, 3-point shooting and a ton of movement on his offensive sets. It's lead to a really fun viewing and playing experience, where NBA prospects who can play at pace and shoot from deep get a ton of volume to showcase their skills. Last year, Joe cashed in on the system to become a draft pick of the Philadelphia 76ers. For Joe, his numbers weren't efficient, but the historic volume he received from deep justified to NBA teams that he'd be a competent specialist.
Moody's season was a little different. Moody had a higher two-point rate, much more usage in the half-court off screens and was an impressively impactful defensive player for a freshman. The ceiling appears higher for him because of his seven-foot wingspan and how he uses that to disrupt on the defensive end. He's a true 3-and-D prospect.
Despite that moniker, Moody isn't the pure shooting lock many wish he would be. His release is predicated on rhythm and the high release with that godly wingspan. His movement shooting flashes weren't fluid or dynamic -- he's not known as a guy who separates from defenders, just who shoots over them. He doesn't have usage in a ton of different screening actions where his gravity creates for others. Bottom line: it's not a lock that his shooting ability makes him a Klay Thompson, Duncan Robinson, Wayne Ellington-like threat who can be on the move at all times.
We know Moody will give solid defensive effort, block a good deal of shots and make a positive impact when his body fills out. But where's the ceiling on his offense? How does he positively impact the game with the ball in his hands? The hope was that he'd turn into a Thompson or Robinson who gets a ton of value per touch. After watching his freshman season and usage, that's farther away than it is near.
Understanding that lowers Moody's upside as a draft prospect. If he shot 40% from 3, I'd likely be willing to overlook it because he's a lethal standstill threat. But the numbers (35.8%) aren't knocking anyone's socks off.
Where Moody struggled was finishing at the rim. He has one trait I really like: he's very active and impactful on the offensive glass. More than a third of all his finishes in the half-court came on second-chance points. He goes for tip-ins, he crashes and secures, he's got a winning mentality to make plays happen.
Take away those second-chance points and Moody was only 20-50 (40%) at the rim in the half-court. That's a disastrous number for someone with a seven-foot wingspan.
The mark speaks to the absence of strength and athleticism, but also confidence. Moody is a tad contact-averse, he doesn't have control over his long limbs for how to use them and his first step doesn't generate enough separation on a regular basis to finish in space. Even if he develops solid ball handling and can be a secondary creator out of the PNR, he's got a long way to go to finish effectively against NBA interior defenders.
The small flashes and glimpses of secondary or self-creation he's shown (noted in the scouting video) are moreso about attacking closeouts and coming off handoffs -- staples for great shooters -- than running ball screens and being a late-clock option. It's so difficult to scout something that hasn't been demonstrated; it's impossible to know if Moody wasn't used in the PNR because he isn't effective there, or because Arkansas simply needed him elsewhere.
Moody has a nice one-dribble pull-up when he's run off the line. His feel for hitting cutters and having his eyes on the basket is natural to pair with a guy who can make good decisions 5-on-4 when he gains that advantage. He has a nice feel for dumping down to screeners off a DHO. All traits I really like for a specialty shooter who is constantly on the move.
That brings us full circle to the necessity of his shooting being that specialty skill that earns him minutes. Without it, Moody has no offensive role to hang his hat on. He needs to come off handoffs, blitz guys off screens to create gravity for others and effectively knock down shots in both categories. It unlocks the playmaking potential and justifies giving early-career minutes to a guy who really can't finish inside and might find physical limitations when guarding NBA-caliber wings.
There's so much to like about Moody, from his smooth stroke to exciting on-ball defense. But when scouting him in totality, I left slightly more underwhelmed than I thought I'd be. I've had him penciled in as a top-ten pick all season long because of his value in those roles. Now, 11-18 is likely where I'd feel more comfortable. He isn't a lock to be that impactful player, and the lack of finishing does worry me. He'll add strength, and hopefully his hip movements loosen up so he's a more impactful movement shooter from day one.
Leave a Reply.
Adam Spinella, Head Boys Basketball Coach at Boys' Latin School (MD)