clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Why E'Twaun Moore can be the Bulls' backup point guard next season

New, comments

Hey, why not E'Twaun Moore?

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

We're basically a week away from the NBA Draft. For the Chicago Bulls, they are sitting with a new head coach, an inflexible roster and the No. 22 pick. Presumably, that pick represents the team's best chance at upgrading talent this offseason.

Interestingly enough, mock drafts have been pretty uniform when it comes to pegging that No. 22 selection. Ricky (who knows the Bulls as well as anyone) has them taking Louisville point guard Terry Rozier in his mock at SBNation.com. Over at CBSSports.com, Sam Vecenie has them selecting Utah point guard Delon Wright in his latest mock. For what it's worth, both ESPN mock draft guys -- Chad Ford and Jeff Goodman -- also have previously had the Bulls taking Wright. Then in the most recent Draft Express mock, they threw everyone a curveball by having the Bulls select Arizona swingman Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who probably fits the profile of a Tom Thibodeau coached team better than a Fred Hoiberg coached one.

At any rate, while point guard appears to be winning the popular vote, it is absolutely within the realm of possibility for the Bulls to add wing or frontcourt depth instead. And personally -- while I admittedly don't follow the college game as closely -- I think drafting a point guard would be an oversight given the team's current backup: E'Twaun Moore.

Now, I get the rationale behind drafting a point guard. First of all, this draft is fairly deep at the position, which means the Bulls can get solid value relative to their draft slot. But beyond that, for years, the Bulls have been searching for a full-time backup to Derrick Rose. Kirk Hinrich was supposed to be just that, and, well, yeah...no. Then there's the litany of piecemeal backups the team has acquired over the years. We don't even really need to go one-by-one (although Nate Robinson was clearly the best) because they all shared the same endearingly flawed characteristics.

Moore's inherently different, though. Long-armed (he has a 6-foot-9 wingspan) and standing at 6-foot-4, Moore's size and length enable him to defend most any guard in the game today, which is his biggest asset. Last season, it grew increasingly frustrating to watch a guy like Hinrich get regular minutes ahead of Moore when Hinrich could never defend like this:

(That's Russell Westbrook, mind you. And yes, this screen-shot is from The E'Twaun Moore Game.)

Defensively, I'd say that while Hinrich is likely the stronger off-ball defender, Moore was great at creating turnovers -- he finished with the second-highest Steal Rate on the team behind Jimmy Butler -- and was actually being the pest that people mistook Hinrich for. Moore's super active with his hands and knows exactly how to use those ridiculously long arms to contest shots. And although Moore's not the best athlete around, he's self-aware enough to play-up to his strengths and make proper rotations. On defense alone, Moore can be tasked with around 10 minutes a night, which is basically what he got last season.

But offensively is where things start to become in question. Anecdotally, Moore was pretty bad as a creator and dribbler. There's really not enough data (he played about 500 minutes last season) to conclude much of anything. He did shoot 37.5 percent on corner threes and 42 percent of his total threes came from the corners, but that also indicates he was playing mostly off-guard. So while Moore can defend a majority of backup point guards around the league, we didn't see much of him initiating an offense or play much point guard in the traditional sense.

But in a silver lining, Moore was effectively the same player efficiency-wise as he was in Orlando during the 2013-14 season despite playing 1,000 fewer minutes in Chicago last year.

So this leaves me to wonder: is it worth investing in a younger guard and letting Fred Hoiberg's mystical offensive powers groom that rookie, or can you just trust Moore to play, say, five more minutes per night? Given that he's on a non-guaranteed contract worth a little over a million dollars for next season (and I believe there's no guarantee-date before the league-wide one in January), he could turn out to be pretty cost-effective.

What I'm trying to say is that I don't think it'd be the worst thing in the world to go into the season with E'Twaun Moore as the backup to Derrick Rose. There's obviously a lot of variables at play: Rose's health, Hinrich's role on the team next season, whether Hoiberg feels he has a use for Moore given his limitations offensively. And all of this could very well be for naught if the Bulls just draft a point guard. But Moore had a nice -- albeit, miniscule -- season last year. I saw enough to feel comfortable giving him a slightly increased role. It might not be ideal, but it's probably less bad than you think.

* All stats collected from Basketball Reference