Moses Moody And The Importance Of 3-And-D Wings

Moses Moody And The Importance Of 3-And-D Wings


Moses Moody And The Importance Of 3-And-D Wings


Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

3-and-D wings are one of the NBA’s prized commodities. Whether it’s 3-and-D wings that can create and initiate offense like Paul George and Khris Middleton, or simply role players who bring tons of value like Mikal Bridges and Robert Covington, 3-and-D guys are essential for championship teams. That’s part of the reason why Moses Moody has been dubbed a top-10 prospect by many scouts and why he’s even seen top-5 consideration in this year’s NBA draft. Realistically, Moody will never be a perennial All-Star or a high level All-NBA player in his career. But, it’s his high floor and “safeness” that should make him a consensus top-10 player. And if he develops in a few key areas, we could see him tap into a higher tier.

Let’s start with his most bankable, translatable NBA skill: his three-point shooting. Moody’s balance and picturesque form make him an assassin from behind the arc who provides steady consistency. You’ll rarely see him make three after three and get hot like some of the league’s best three-point shooters, but he doesn’t tend to go cold behind the line, especially off the catch: 

From a standstill, Moody is incredibly effective. However, the best shooters in the NBA combine elite accuracy and volume with excellent shot versatility. He ranked in the 57th percentile as a shooter off of screens which is slightly above-average and he ranked in just the 25th percentile off handoffs. The best shooters know how to relocate off shots and how to shoot off a wide variety of off-ball actions. The foundation is laid, but he’s still got quite a way to go. Thankfully, Moody has the traits to grow as a movement shooter, and one of them is his footwork.

Footwork is a less talked about quality for draft prospects but it’s still extremely important. Moody combines great balance with terrific footwork, and that’s part of the reason why he can develop as both a movement shooter and an on-ball shot creator. He’s not an elite athlete nor a high-level ball-handler, but there’s glimpses of fluidity off the dribble that intrigues scouts, and that’s a testament to his elite footwork:

Footwork is also very important because it takes a lot of reps to develop strong footwork. It takes hours and hours in the gym perfecting every little detail and taking the same exact shots over and over again. Moody is so young and already so precise with his footwork and that shows his work ethic. It also is useful for projecting his off-dribble shooting down the line. He’s a great pull-up mid-range shooter, but in order for him to be maximized as a shot-creator in the NBA, he’ll need to extend his pull-up range to behind the arc:

Lethal pull-up shooters are game changing, especially in the playoffs. His mid-range game is already clean and proficient, but he needs to add a pull-up three-point shot to his arsenal so that he can be a threat from everywhere on the floor. If he can do that, then there is Khris Middleton-type potential that he could reach. He could thrive as an on/off ball scorer who can knock down threes, hit shots in the mid-range, and get to the rim. However, his finishing is his biggest swing skill and something he’ll need to work on to maximize his upside.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Moody’s athletic deficiencies and lack of burst really show as a driver. He can somewhat get to the rim, but because of his lack of handle and creativity plus his burst issues, it limits how much of a slasher he is. I’m also concerned about his lack of vertical pop and finishing craft. His percentages around the rim were really low, and it was partially because of his lack of craftiness when finishing. The good thing is that he drew a ton of fouls during his freshman year at Arkansas which is a skill that almost always translates. However, his ability to seek out contact is inconsistent and he can tend to avoid it around the rim. His finishing projection is a tricky one but I think as he continues to improve his body and his craftiness around the rim, he could be a solid yet unspectacular finisher who mainly excels off straight line drives.

In the NBA, getting an on-ball role can be hard unless you bring elite scoring qualities and a semblance of passing skill. Moody’s passing almost never gets brought up in his evaluation but his flashes are pretty enticing. Nothing that will blow you away and he never manipulated defenses but it’s his quick decision-making that allows him to make sharp passes for easy baskets:

Moody is a high-feel player. He doesn’t struggle to read the floor, he makes rapid, quick decisions, and his processing speed is very good. His combination of all of those things plus his shot-making and passing chops make him worthy of potentially filling an on-ball scoring role in the NBA. He likely won’t ever be super advanced handle-wise nor with his counter moves, but his footwork, touch, and coordination allows him to be effective and efficient.

Defensively is another strong suit of his, much like his three-point shooting. His excellent frame and long arms allows him to be disruptive. His off-ball defense is really good at this stage. He makes correct rotations 90% of the time and seems to be one of those “right place, right time” defenders. His positioning is incredible and he uses his arms to alter shots around the rim and contest perimeter shots. His defensive IQ is superb and he knows how to use his body. If you combine both of those things as a player, you have a chance to be a standout defender in the NBA.

However, he’s not perfect as a defender. His off-ball defense and team defense are both very strong, but his on-ball defense was really underwhelming on tape. Despite his switchability and good size, Moody really struggles to contain quality perimeter scorers. He gets blown by a lot because his lateral quickness is only average at this stage and he’s still fairly skinny. Here he gets blown by and despite good technique to recover, he simply lacks the footspeed to be effective.

Because of his lack of quickness, it’s fair to ask how versatile and switchable he truly is. Against wings, Moody does a great job because he can match up with most of them size-wise and most of the time they aren’t much faster than he is. However, against quicker and shiftier guards who can really handle the ball, he struggles mightily. Because of this, he might only be a two to three positional defender as opposed to someone who can guard everyone except big men. 

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

His role projection is going to be why he’s all over the place on big boards. No matter what, it seems most scouts are confident in his 3-and-D skillset that should allow him to be a plug-in piece right away. But will he be able to improve his all-around game to develop into a high-level starter or will he remain a role player? That is the trickiest question with Moody.

On one hand, you can look at his high school role. He played at Montverde Academy next to Cade Cunningham, Scottie Barnes, and Day’Ron Sharpe. Cunningham is the first overall pick, Barnes is going to be a top 10 pick, and Sharpe could very well be a first rounder. Moody was the 3-and-D guy for that team. He knew what his job was and he perfected it. In an NBA system, he may very well do the same thing but his lack of handle and offensive creativity may make it hard for him to get on-ball reps. 

However, if we look at his college sample, we can see he was the #1 scoring option on that team. He didn’t always need the ball, but he took the most shots and he scored the most points for them. They needed a shot-creator, and he filled that role to perfection. Good players know their role, great players can adjust their role to fix the context of their situation, and that’s exactly what Moody did. So it’s fair to say that he might be able to fill an on-ball scoring role if his team needs him to do that. 

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

So, where should he be taken? In my opinion, he’s a top-10 player in this class. Players with high floors and sneakily high ceilings always outperform their draft position because they can’t fail. Players who can do the role player things but also flash shot creation and more advanced scoring also exceed expectations. Moody checks both of those boxes and provides safety because he brings valuable skills. Don’t let his struggles in March Madness fool you. He’s a high level prospect hiding in plain sight and makes a strong case to be a top-5 pick in this year’s NBA draft.

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