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- Measurables: 6-foot-11, 230 pounds, junior forward from Mississippi State
- Key Stats: 15.8 points, 10.6 rebounds, 1.0 assists, .8 blocks per game, 55 percent shooting
- Projected: Late first/early second round
- Hickory High Similarity Score
Why I like this guy
Pistons fans who made it through the dysfunction of last season should be able to appreciate Arnett Moultrie’s experience this year. Moultrie was a key player in an often chaotic environment at Mississippi State who occasionally became frustrated with the lack of commitment teammates were showing. Earlier this season, here’s what he told the Clarion-Ledger:
“I see how they come up here and say how bad they want to win and how bad they want to go to the Final Four,” said Moultrie, “but everybody doesn’t work as hard as they say, with as bad as they want to win.”
Moultrie also said some members of the team had ‘different agendas.’ That sounds strikingly like Detroit’s locker room last season. But the good news is, the Pistons’ mature young players like Greg Monroe and Jonas Jerebko learned an important lesson about how to be above the fray last year and were better for it this year. Moultrie, who by most accounts is a mature and hard-working kid, hopefully gained similar things from his sometimes frustrating experience this year.
Pros for the Pistons
He’s big, athletic, works hard and rebounds. The Pistons need all of those things. The thing that stands out the most is his improvement from his sophomore to junior year (he played at UTEP as a sophomore before transferring to MSU, where he had to sit out a year per transfer rules).
His shooting percentage jumped from 48 to 55 percent. His turnover rate declined from 20 percent to 17 percent even though he was touching the ball more and had a bigger role offensively at Mississippi State. His defensive rebounding percentage jumped from 17 percent to nearly 22 percent. His offensive rebounding percentage went up from 8 to 12 percent. His true shooting percentage jumped from 52 percent to 60 percent.
If Moultrie somehow hangs around until the Pistons are picking early in the second round, he’s exactly the type of improving, hard-working prospect they should consider with that pick.
Cons for the Pistons
The one thing I didn’t mention above that the Pistons are in dire need of: shot blocking. Moultrie, despite his length and athleticism, doesn’t block many (.8 per game).
He’s not a back-to-the-basket big man, either. That issue is less of a concern for the Pistons though, since Monroe will handle much of the work in the paint offensively.
The Pistons would clearly like to add a shot blocker, but if one isn’t there when they’re picking in the second round, Moultrie at least has the physical tools to potentially develop that skill down the road if he’s committed to improving his defense.
What others are saying
Moultrie looks like an NBA lottery prospect at first glance — he’s long, athletic, super bouncy and coming off a terrific season, averaging 16.4 ppg and 10.5 rpg. However, Mississippi State’s dramatic crash at the end of the season, along with concerns about problems Moultrie had at UTEP, are giving scouts pause. Right now he’s expected to go somewhere in the mid-to-late first round.
On the defensive end, Moultrie has progressed significantly from his time at UTEP, looking much better from a fundamentals standpoint both in the post and on the perimeter. Defending down low, Moultrie shows decent understanding of leverage and using his forearm to hold his position, while also doing a good job getting his hands up to contest shots with his length. Unfortunately, Moultrie is still lacking in strength and is prone to being backed down by bigger opponents, also lacking a bit of toughness at times, shying away from contact.
High-level athlete combo forward with excellent size and length. Versatile offensive skill set to score inside/outside (16.5 PPG). Could be seen as being big enough to play center in today’s NBA. He possesses rare agility at 6’11 in tandem with a hunger for activity and relentless motor. Runs the court like a guard, with a fluid gait and long, easy strides. Nightmare matchup for opponents on the interior due to explosive quickness and elevation. Extraordinarily nimble and quick mover in the paint. He has added strength and bulk (225 to 240) without losing that calling card explosiveness. Uses his athleticism to earn high percentage looks (58%), elevating above defenders. Displays a deft touch and equally adept at finishing with his left hand.
he guy who really matters in Mississippi State’s frontcourt — the one whom Arizona coach Sean Miller called the Bulldogs’ “difference-maker” — is Arnett Moultrie. Friday night at Madison Square Garden was a very nice one for Moultrie, who had 19 points (on 8 of 9 shooting) and 10 rebounds in 25 minutes, and was named the tournament’s MVP. He booted up his cell phone afterwards and was bombarded with texts — most of them congratulating him about something other than the game. “They’re telling me ‘Happy Birthday,’” he said. “I turned 21 today.”
In order for him to succeed, he has to figure out if he wants to commit to being a post player or wing. He’s proven that he can’t be both. If he wants to play outside, he needs to improve his perimeter defense and shooting. If he plays inside, he has to add muscle to his frame and develop some post moves.
What is the best thing Arnett Moultrie does for his team?
Arnett Moultrie’s motor is always running and will fit into an offensive system which allows the forwards to run and create scoring opportunities. He’s a great face-up shooter and forward who can attack seams and the backboard, though he struggles when his back is facing the basket. His needs to develop his moves in the post but his ability to rebound — 18 double-doubles in his only season at Mississippi State — shows the desire and raw talent that so many NBA general managers will want to craft and mold into a great player.
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