The Bulls don't know what they have in E'Twaun Moore. If they did, they would play him more.
Moore has quickly become one of my favorite players on the Bulls because of his consistently stellar defense. Moore is an example that you don't have to be a fantastic athlete or have incredible wingspan to be a great defender. What is way more important is intelligence and effort.
I've written before about how you can't post E'Twaun Moore up. Even if he is giving up substantial size, he will find a way to block your shot.
Moore showed off his quick hands and great post defense again last night when Deron Williams tried to post him up:
Moore is also really intelligent and is one of the few Bulls guards who will pay attention to back cuts. He almost picked off this pass and had a great clean contest on Raymond Felton's shot without fouling. Once Felton caught this tipped ball, he tried to do some sort of post fadeaway shot and Moore made him look incredibly silly in the process:
On that note, Moore is very good at not fouling. That is something that his counterpart Tony Snell is terrible at (more Snell comparisons coming).
Hustling for 94 Feet
Moore is one of the only players I've seen that will go long stretches guarding opposing players all the way in the backcourt. Not many other guys will do this - Tony Allen and Avery Bradley are the only two I can think of off the top of my head. Moore almost single-handedly forced Dallas into an 8 second violation after deflecting this pass and pressuring JJ Barea again after Dallas inbounded with a late clock:
One video clip doesn't do this justice though. Next time Moore is in the game, just watch how doggedly he picks up his man and how nobody else on the court is doing what he does, especially so far into the backcourt.
The Bulls have cited a lack of communication multiple times as the biggest impediment to their defense. E'Twaun Moore is great at communicating rotations on transition, which is where the Bulls get burned a lot.
Moore gets back quickly in transition here and points out the matchups for his teammates, ensuring that everyone knows who they are guarding:
Contrast Moore with Tony Snell, who on the surface looks like he should be a good defender but in practice is generally awful outside of isolation defense. When the Bulls players say communication is an issue, Snell is hugely responsible.
Here, you can see Snell communicate in the same fashion as Moore, except Snell is very late getting back in transition and by the time he signals (to who? nobody really) that somebody needs to cover his man (Chandler Parsons) it's already way too late for anyone to do anything about it:
Very Smart Help Defender
The Bulls have been having problems for two years now with pick and roll defense when Pau Gasol is in the game. Gasol looks extra bad because oftentimes he doesn't receive proper help when he steps up to stop guard penetration.
Moore is great at balancing between cutting off big entry passes and staying at home on his man on the perimeter. He can recover extremely quickly and cover a lot of space:
Using Tony Snell as a bad example again, Snell will very rarely help off his man. Multiple times when Dallas went to their bread and butter pick and roll, Snell would stay way too close to home. He wouldn't even look at the passing lane or the big man, letting Dallas' bigs catch deep in the paint:
Great, Great, Great Isolation Defender
Snell's one redeeming trait is that he is a good isolation defender. Moore is too, but while Snell relies on length and athleticism, Moore outworks people and will get in your shirt.
To close out the 2nd quarter, Moore picked up Deron Williams at the opposite baseline, trailed him down the entire floor for 90+ feet, and guarded him so tightly that DWill couldn't even get a shot attempt up before the buzzer sounded:
Moore really showed off how he could be a defensive game-changer in the Bulls' most recent win in Toronto. In a mostly one possession game late, Toronto went to Kyle Lowry isolations for 3 of the last 5 possessions.
On the first, Lowry was forced into a tough 3 that he missed thanks to Moore's good defense. The second, Lowry hit a very tough contested fadeaway on great defense. On the 3rd possession, Moore picked up a downhill Lowry at full speed and contested beautifully to save the game:
That is so difficult to do. Kyle Lowry is a fast, strong dude. To get in step with him when he has a running start into the lane and contest like that is incredibly impressive.
People will remember that game for Jimmy Butler's 40 second half points, but the Bulls don't win without Moore's shut down defense.
Moore was rewarded for his effort by garnering a bunch of DNPs after that game. In the Bulls' last 19 games, Moore has 11 DNPs. When Moore has actually played, he's been terrific. He also had a bunch of huge defensive plays in the Bulls' most recent win against Philadelphia (Moore Steal 1, Moore Steal 2).
It doesn't make sense. Moore is the team's best perimeter defender, and I haven't even begun to delve into his offense. He's an underrated 3 point shooter - he's leading the team at 48% (that will come down though. He's a still respectable 36% for his career). He also has a very nice touch at the basket, leading the team in that FG percentage as well (78% on FG's within 3 feet this year, 67% for career - both excellent numbers). Moore is never going to be a high usage guy offensively, but he can be a Tony Allen type player with the bonus of having some semblance of offense. The Bulls could use a guy like that. Why is he not playing more?
If it seems like there is a ton of video of Moore's defense, keep in mind there is so much more good stuff about his defense that I couldn't fit in just of his last game versus Dallas. He did so much last night in terms of getting into passing lanes, stopping entry passes, and quickly getting over picks over and over again to prevent Dallas from running their best play (Barea/Dirk PnR) (another example).
Bottom line, E'Twaun Moore needs to play. The Bulls have no idea what they have in this guy. Other teams do - they've called before to ask about his availability, but the Bulls won't let him go. They also foolishly won't play him. He's in no man's land for now. He's probably never going to be anything close to an all-star, but there is a place in this league for guys like E'Twaun Moore and he can shore up some of the biggest weaknesses on this team.