RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Arnett MoultriePosted by EJacoby on June 22nd, 2012
The 2012 NBA Draft is scheduled for Thursday, June 28, in New York City. As we have done for the last several years, RTC’s team of writers (including Andrew Murawa, Kevin Doyle, Evan Jacoby, Matt Patton, and Danny Spewak) will provide comprehensive breakdowns of each of the 35 collegians most likely to hear his name called by David Stern in the first round on draft night. We’ll work backwards, starting with players who are projected near the end of the first round before getting into the lottery as June progresses. As an added bonus, we’ll also bring you a scouting take from NBADraft.net’s Aran Smith at the bottom of each player evaluation.
Note: Click here for all published 2012 NBA Draft profiles.
Player Name: Arnett Moultrie
School: Mississippi State
Height/Weight: 6’11” / 235 lbs.
NBA Position: Power Forward
Projected Draft Range: Mid-First Round
Overview: Arnett Moultrie is one of the few potential lottery picks in this draft who didn’t receive a lot of attention throughout his college career. Moultrie played in just one NCAA Tournament game in three seasons — back in 2010 with #12-seed UTEP when he had four points, three rebounds, and three turnovers in a loss to Butler. But he offered intriguing size and skills at that time and transferred to Mississippi State, where he consequently had a tremendously productive season in 2011-12 for the Bulldogs. The smooth big man averaged 16.4 points and 10.5 rebounds last season on 54.9% shooting, good for second, first, and fourth, respectively, in the SEC. He also improved his free throw shooting to an intriguing 78% last year on over five attempts per game. Moultrie displays ‘bouncy’ athleticism; a solid combination of leaping ability and agility for his 6’11” frame that allows him to explode at the rim and run the floor effectively. His 12’0” maximum vertical reach ranked third of all prospects at the Combine, showing an impressive 7’2.25” wingspan and finishing third-fastest of all power forwards in the sprint test behind Perry Jones and Thomas Robinson. Moultrie spoke out in frustration with his team’s late-season collapse last year, which drew conflicting attention but appears to work now as a positive as he’s followed up those comments with a strong showing in Combine interviews. He doesn’t play a whole lot of defense at this stage and needs work on paint skills on both ends, but his offensive productivity is very intriguing.
Will Translate to the NBA: Moultrie displayed a fantastic offensive rebounding rate last year, grabbing 3.7 per game, something that has a history of translating well in the league. His ability to run the floor and explode at the rim is one of his greatest assets, showing he can be useful offensively and in transition without commanding one-on-one touches. While not yet exhibiting great post moves, Moultrie goes hard in the paint and wants to dunk anytime he sees the rim. His shot improved in all areas last season and bodes well for his potential to contribute as a mid-range shooter in the NBA.
Needs Work: Moultrie is not particularly skilled in the paint on either end. For someone so big and mobile, he’s frustratingly ineffective on defense, averaging just 0.8 blocks last season and looking disinterested in giving proper help defense or altering shots outside his area. And on offense, his game doesn’t feature skilled moves in the paint at this stage. It would be a major help if he can develop a soft touch in the paint, as his size will allow him to get a lot of shots off. He’s still fairly wiry and needs to add strength in order to really improve in the post. He also prefers to operate on the perimeter, not fully utilizing his body properly on some possessions.
Comparison Players: Moultrie draws similarities to a poor man’s Amar’e Stoudemire or Jermaine O’Neal as a best-case comp. His skill set is especially similar to Stoudemire, as his game features more face-up post moves than back to the basket skills. His top scoring moves are explosive dunks and outside jumpers, preferring to spend more time roaming on the perimeter than in the paint. Moultrie is a similarly ineffective and disinterested defender at this point, unable to change the game defensively despite great physical tools. If the right team gets in his head, Moultrie can become a mini-Amar’e, though teams would also like to see more effectiveness in the paint defensively.
Best Case Scenario: There aren’t many players that posses the size and explosiveness of Moultrie, displaying outstanding hops and speed for a 6’11” player. He should contribute right away with productive bench minutes, as he’s ready to attack the rim with polished rebounding and finishing ability. But if Moultrie starts to develop a consistent perimeter jumper or more low post moves, he has a chance to be a real impact offensive player. He’s never going to win you games on defense, but a starting ‘four’ is not out of the question that can fill up the box score with points and rebounds as a solid offensive option.
Best NBA Fit: An NBA-ready forward that will contribute offensively, Moultrie intrigues teams that are already strong and want someone to help for the playoff push next season. The team that immediately stands out is the Philadelphia 76ers at #15, as the Sixers were one game away from the Eastern Conference Finals last year and the one thing they lack is legitimate size in the front court. Loaded with tweeners and versatile wings, Philadelphia could use someone with Moultrie’s size and offensive skills. The Sixers also excelled on defense last year and wouldn’t be too worried about Moultrie’s lack of instant defensive impact.
Scout’s Take (from NBADraft.net): “Late bloomer who has the talent to sneak into the top 10. Some question his motor, but if he gives consistent effort, few big men in this draft can match his size, agility and skill level.”
*This post was contributed by RTC’s Evan Jacoby. He can be found on Twitter @evanJacoby.