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2021 NBA Draft Prospect Profiles: Moses Moody

Moses Moody would be a dream trade-up candidate for the Memphis Grizzlies. A rare plug-and-play role player with youthful upside to be even more.

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NCAA Basketball: Arkansas at South Carolina Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Over the next month, GBB will be profiling various players the Memphis Grizzlies may target in the 2021 NBA Draft. This year we will be breaking it up in to three sections - five to likely trade up for, five potentially available right around pick #17 where Memphis is slotted to pick, and five that surely will be there or perhaps the Grizzlies could even trade back and still select.

Others in this “trade up category”: Scottie Barnes of Florida State player profile.

Next, Moses Moody of Arkansas.

Moses Moody, Wing, University of Arkansas

  • 6’6”, 225 lbs (7’0” wingspan), 19 years old, from Little Rock, Arkansas
  • One season at Arkansas: 33.8 minutes per game, 16.8 points per game on 42.7% shooting (35.8% from beyond the arc, 81.2% from the free throw line), 5.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1 steal, 0.7 block.
  • STATS OF STRENGTH (per Tankathon) - Offensive Rebounds (64), FTA Rate (.482), Turnovers (1.6)
  • STATS TO IMPROVE - AST%/Usage (0.37), EFG% (50.3), 2-point field goal percentage (47.8%)
  • AWARDS AND ACCOLADES - 2020-2021 SEC Rookie of the Year, 2020-2021 SEC All-Freshman 1st Team, 1st Team All-SEC
  • CURRENT BIG BOARD PLACEMENTS: 12th overall (Tankathon), 16th overall (Ringer), 18th overall (ESPN), 15th overall (CBS Sports), 7th overall (The Athletic), 11th (Bleacher Report)

Moses Moody has been a popular name for the Memphis Grizzlies over this entire draft process. It’s easy to see why. There’s familiarity with Moody, as Memphis is in the middle of SEC country. The biggest thing is, though, that he fits exactly what the Grizzlies need.

Though the Grizzlies have more shooting (good shooting at that), a long wing with a smooth shooting stroke is always enticing. He also has elements of his game that suggest he can be a high-level wing that blends in perfectly as a complementary starter.

When it looked like the Grizzlies were in the thick of the battle for 10th, the idea of drafting Moody served as a consolation to not making any postseason tournament. Now, the possibility isn’t as likely, as the Grizzlies are slotted with the 17th pick and Moody is a near-consensus lottery pick.

On the other hand, his inconsistent tournament play knocked him down a bit on some of the mainstream draft boards, so Moody falling could entirely be possible. If he’s in the range to fall all the way to Memphis, or even in a good trade range, the Grizzlies should be targeting him.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Oral Roberts at Arkansas Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

What he does well

The enticement with Moses Moody is his potential as a 3-and-D wing.

Let’s start with the defense. He didn’t really stand out as a defensive playmaker at Arkansas, averaging less than 2 stocks (steals + blocks) per game. However, he has the tools to be an impact defender at the next level — even if it’s just as an average one within a great defensive system.

He came out of the combine with some of the most impressive measurements — 6’4” without shoes (6’6” with shoes) and a ridiculous 7’0.5” wingspan (+8.5 wingspan!!). Granted, length isn’t everything; you have to put the tools to practice. Moody uses his tools to maintain great defensive position and bother opponents.

Offensively, he has the framework to be a “3&D+” player. He doesn’t stand out as a 3-point sniper immediately, shooting only 35.8% from 3 last season. On the other hand, his shot is nowhere near broken. He has a solid baseline for shooting mechanics that make me believe he can be a clean catch-and-shoot 3-point shooter in the corners. And that’s what he is framing his game after, as he told ESPN’s Mike Schmitz he’s been taking a lot of inspiration from Klay Thompson’s game.

Where the + comes in is with the mid-range jumper. We’ve seen the value of great mid-range shooting over the past two postseasons. Moody has shown intriguing upside as an off-dribble creator for his age. Per, Moody shot 39.5% on far-2’s (mid-range) — a mark the same as Cameron Thomas, and higher than James Bouknight and Cade Cunningham. He also scored 1.19 points per possession as a pick-and-roll ball-handler (98th percentile), per Synergy Sports. Though it was on a low volume (12-21 shooting), it indicates that he has potential to grow into a solid secondary creator. Stats aside, he has good mechanics on his dribble pull-up, and his long arms should help him get his shot up over the defense. In addition, if he’s already showing this amount of poise and control in the mid-range, it should serve as a good sign that he can become a marksman in this area of his game.

The framework of Moody’s game gives him a low fail rate. At worst, he’s likely a rotation player off the bench that can defend multiple positions and knock down catch-and-shoot jumpers. His 3-point efficiency, his shot portfolio from there, and his creation off the dribble can allow him to be a whole lot more.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Arkansas at Baylor Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Where he can improve

While Moody possesses potential to be a 3&D+ player, his improvement come in that “+” area — as expected for a 19 year-old player.

I’ll start with a few things that stick out from the stats that are valid but easily correctable. Moody’s shooting efficiency wasn’t spectacular, possessing an efficiency field goal percentage of 50.3%. He also was in a go-to scoring role that’s not going to be his job in the NBA. As the primary shot-creator, he’s going to take on a lot more defensive attention and be forced into tougher, contested shots. It also led to absolutely horrific shooting nights, shooting sub-25% on 10+ attempts in 5 games over the final month of the season.

He also didn’t have any high-level creators setting him up, as Arkansas didn’t have anyone average 4 or more assists last season. That’s worth noting in regards to his efficiency.

Can his percentages rise with a more ideal shot portfolio and with NBA-level creators setting him up? If they don’t, that’s where he’s more of his floor as a bench rotation 3-and-D wing.

Moody’s playmaking numbers weren’t super enticing. He had an even assist-to-turnover ratio, which isn’t great. He has flashed potential in that regard, so it’d be interesting to see how he can evolve as a passer. It’s his swing skill to be a high-level rotation wing.

Moody does have potential in the mid-range, but he has to improve inside the arc to be a threat off the dribble. He doesn’t have this supreme athleticism to help him be a superb finisher. He shot 56.2% on “close 2’s” which isn’t terrible but isn’t great — ranking outside the top-50 of 2021 draft early entrants. In addition, he only generated 0.53 PPP on runners (15th percentile). He’s going to have to improve on these marks to even an OK-to-average territory to make defenses honest and expand his offensive upside.

Youth is on Moody’s side. He’s nowhere close to a finished product. These are the areas he’s flashed upside in, though there’s improvement here too. If he never hits in these skills, then defenses will run him off the line to force him to create off the dribble. However, if he improves in these spots, then he has such a fascinating upside.

The fit

Moses Moody would be another solid wing that could potentially start next to Ja Morant in the long-term future.

His defensive tools is exactly what you want around Morant — big, rangy, switchy defenders. Sliding in Moody at your 2 spot gives the Grizzlies 4 players 6’6” or taller, an ideal defensive situation for Ja and this team. Imagine the defensive havoc a lineup of Morant/Moody/Brooks/Anderson/Jackson could cause; it’d be menacing. The Grizzlies have solidified themselves as an elite defensive playmaking team — as they are a mainstay at the top of the leaderboards for steals and deflections — and Moody’s instincts and insane wingspan would fit right in.

Offensively, he can be someone that alleviates creation pressure off Morant down the road. Right away, he’ll slide in as more of a catch-and-shoot specialist, as he finds his NBA footing. The Grizzlies emphasize the drive-and-kick a ton, which leads to a ton of open 3’s — 8th in 3-point frequency on “wide open” (defender 6+ feet away), 20.6%. That should help Moody find a rhythm on 3’s and learn the in’s and out’s of 3-point relocation.

If he can evolve into that 3&D+ player, it’s not hard to suggest he can be the #3 guy down the road (4th, if they consolidate for a star). Mikal Bridges is a popular comparison, but he has a lot of flashes of his game that are reminiscent of Khris Middleton, as well, with his 3-point shooting, defensive instincts, mid-range potential, and his ability to generate offense without pounding the ball. If he can continue to build on his mid-range prowess, he can fall in the caliber around Bridges and Middleton — which would give Morant another bonafide 15-18 point-per-game scorer.

At the very least, he’s going to be a rotational 3-and-D wing that can give the Grizzlies more size in their wing rotation, especially when they roll with “guard, 3 wings, big” lineups.

NCAA Basketball: Arkansas at Oklahoma State Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

The verdict

Moses Moody is all over the place on mock drafts:

  • 15th - The Ringer
  • 18th - ESPN
  • 12th - Tankathon
  • 9th - SB Nation
  • 8th - CBS Sports
  • 11th - Bleacher Report

If he actually falls to 18th, the Grizzlies should not let any time pass on the boards. He’s a no-brainer pick at 17th, and he’d give Zach Kleiman yet another “how did this guy fall that far” player in the draft.

But that’s not going to happen. His youth and malleability are too intriguing for a late-lottery team with their cornerstones in place (i.e., Golden State, New Orleans, Indiana, Sacramento) to pass on.

I’d probably start calling teams about moving up for Moses Moody if he falls past the New Orleans Pelicans at 10th. Trading into the top 10 would likely require too many assets that shouldn’t be cashed in until it’s time for that trade for another star.

I doubt San Antonio makes any sort of move to trade down. However, how do extra assets sound to Charlotte? They’re still early in the rebuild, and they can still get a rim-running big man like Isaiah Jackson, Kai Jones, or Usman Garuba with the 17th pick. If he falls to the Washington Wizards at the 15th pick, could the Grizzlies make a deal without including the Utah Jazz pick that’ll likely convey in next year’s draft?

Those are points worth noting in any trade-up.

Moses Moody would be an awesome wing to have here. A pre-consolidation wing rotation of Moody, Brooks, Bane, Melton, and Allen is fantastic for a young team with a franchise point guard. Even after making such a consolidation move, the idea of (hypothetically) that 2nd/3rd piece, Dillon Brooks, Moses Moody, and Desmond Bane is incredible next to Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr.

If Moses Moody became a Memphis Grizzly on draft night, you can expect me — and many others in Grizzlies Twitter — to absolutely rejoice. However, it looks more like a dream than anything at this point.

Verdict: Moses Moody gets picked in the late end of the top-10.

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