Published on April 27th, 2012 | by Bryant West, Columnist0
2012 NBA Draft Prospect Stock Watch: Arnett Moultrie
Name: Arnett Moultrie
Hometown: Memphis, TN
Physicals: 6′ 11″, 225 lbs, 21 years old
College: Mississippi State
NBA Position: Power Forward
Current Stats: 16.4 PPG, 10.4 RPG, .8 BPG, 2.4 TPG, 59.4% FG, 78.0% FT, 44.4% 3P
Moultrie officially declared last week, to the surprise of no one. After an excellent season (and a disappointing end) at Mississippi State, the 6’11 junior is wise to cash in on his athleticism now. What is a surprise is how quickly he’s leaping up the draft boards.
While most early mocks have Moultrie going in the late teens/early twenties, according to Chad Ford, scouts and NBA executives think he might go a bit higher.
A sizable group of scouts and execs think we have two players ranked too low on our Big Board: Syracuse’ Dion Waiters and Mississippi State’s Arnett Moultrie.
A handful of teams have both players ranked in the lottery and a few others in the mid-first round. Waiters’ ability to get to the basket at will and Moultrie’s size, athleticism and rebounding abilities seem to be tipping the scales.
It’s true that Moultrie has a ton of things that GMs and scouts normally fall in love with. He’s got great size, excellent athleticism and already possesses a nice touch. He’s best moving off the ball, and it makes sense considering that he transitioned from being a small forward to being a power forward. His back-to-the-basket game needs improving, but when he’s off the ball and moving around, he’s a smart player and found ways to get to the basket.
Hit the jump for the rest of Bryant’s scouting report…
He has good hands, able to catch the ball in the post and finish with some finesse. He’s also an excellent rebounder, snagging over 10 a contest. Defensively he’s very solid thanks to his strength and athleticism, but he’s a below average shotblocker, disappointing considering how bouncy he is.
His offense isn’t limited to the post. He’s got excellent range for his size, reaching all the way out past the three point line. He shot .6 threes a game, so it’s not a huge weapon, but he made 44 percent of his buckets from downtown. He also shot 78 percent from the free throw line, so if he can learn to draw the fouls inside, he’s a good bet to rack up the points. It’s pretty impressive how much work he put into improving his shot… he was just 54 percent from the line his freshman year, when he was at UTEP.
He nor his team had the best end to their season. After starting 13-3 and being ranked in the top 25, Mississippi State struggled and fell off the map. Moultrie had just seven points and eight rebounds (on 3-10 shooting) in the loss to Georgia that sealed their fate. He was dominant in their double overtime loss to Massachusetts in the NIT, scoring 34 points and grabbing six rebounds.
He looks a lot like a more bouncy version of Sacramento’s Jason Thompson. He’s a well-rounded player whose only weakness is a lack of shot-blocking, but he lacks the raw star power to ever be more than a solid starter.
Draft Watch: Is Moultrie really a lottery pick? If he is, at this point, it’s late late into the lottery. I expect him to go 15 through 20 on draft night, unless he goes in and wipes the floor with John Henson/Perry Jones/Jared Sullinger in workouts.
One of my favorite fits for Moultrie is Memphis. The Grizzlies lost Darrell Arthur at the beginning of the season, and with Zack Randolph down as well they turned to Marreese Speights. Speights will likely leave in FA, and the Grizzlies proved they need not only big help, but with two stiffs like Randolph and Marc Gasol, they need athleticism. Memphis will be a bit lower (#21) than seems likely, though.
Philadelphia can afford to go with any position, but they could use an athletic big. They have Elton Brand, Spencer Hawes and Nikola Vucevic, none of whom are all that athletic.
Dallas needs bigs in any form. Moultrie could actually learn from Dirk Nowitzki on how best to utilize playing off the ball, and since Moultrie has decent range on his shot, Dirk could help with that as well.
There are tons of talented bigs in this draft. Anthony Davis stands alone at the top. Thomas Robinson stands alone on that second tier. Then you have Andre Drummond at tier three, followed by Perry Jones/John Henson/Jared Sullinger/Terrence Jones at tier four. Moultrie could join those four guys, but would you pick him over Tyler Zeller (far less explosive, but far smarter) or any of those tier four guys? We’ll have to see how he does in workouts.
Conclusion: Great explosiveness paired with an exceptional off the ball ability makes Moultrie an intriguing prospect. He’s very well rounded, but needs to work on his moves around the basket and try to develop as a shotblocker before he’ll become more than a bouncy big.