Nineteenth century French author Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr famously coined the phrase “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”
Upon embarking on one of the more critical off-seasons in recent franchise history, the Orlando Magic organization is once again finding itself in a familiar situation: change (and lots of it).
Orlando’s top executives, led by Magic President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman and General Manager John Hammond, made franchise direction-altering moves this past March, trading All-Star center Nikola Vucevic (nine seasons with the Magic), starting forward Aaron Gordon (seven seasons with the Magic), and starting wing Evan Fournier (seven seasons with the Magic) prior to the league’s trade deadline. After appearing in the playoffs for two consecutive seasons from 2019-2020, Orlando’s front office decided to change the organization’s course - at least partly due to the significant knee injuries suffered by Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac (which caused the Magic to fall considerably in the Eastern Conference hierarchy).
If that wasn’t enough change (or maybe because it was too much), the Orlando Magic organization will also be searching this offseason for their sixth head coach in the last eight years. On June 5th, an announcement was made that the team and former head coach Steve Clifford had “mutually agreed to part ways”. Clifford, who was an assistant in Orlando under Stan Van Gundy from 2007-2012, compiled a 96-131 record leading the Magic over the last three seasons. It is widely believed that the Orlando organization’s new blueprint- with so many young players on the roster - doesn’t align with a veteran coach such as Clifford’s timeline.
So here we are, with a turned-over roster full of 20-somethings, and a new lead coach yet to be hired. But with so much change, why do things in Orlando still feel the same?
The draft. Once again, the Magic organization is embarking on a critically important draft - and they have to get things right. The mainstays from recent Orlando past are gone, the team is in full rebuild mode, and much of what the franchise has done over the last year hinges on hitting a homerun during this draft process.
So I’m back for my fourth consecutive offseason, putting together a series of scouting reports on players the Magic will likely be targeting, either with their first round pick or Chicago’s pick (which Orlando acquired in the Vucevic deal). Chicago’s first round pick this year will be conveyed to Orlando as long as it doesn’t land in the top-4.
Some important dates in this process to keep in mind between now and the end of the summer are: June 21st-27th (the NBA Draft Combine), June 22nd (the NBA Draft Lottery), and July 29th (the NBA Draft).
In this series, I have compiled scouting reports that include film observations, loose player comparisons, talking points, Magic-specific potential fits/needs, and more. Next in this series is a sharpshooting wing with ties to Central Florida - Arkansas swingman Moses Moody.
16.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists
(33.8 minutes per game)
56.8% TS%, A/TO ratio: 0.98
Film Study: Eye in the sky
-Sniper from long-range; lots of rhythm to his jump shot, high release
-Does work early during his pre-shot routine; body squared, active hands ready to catch and shoot
-Not just a spot-up shooter, comfortable shooting coming off screens
-Attacks hard close-outs with one or two dribble mid-range jumpers
-Doesn’t have a ton of shake off the dribble, not very elusive
-Not a lot of creativity off the dribble; one or two dribbles to get to his shot, or moves the ball
-His stats don’t reflect it, but can make the correct pass/read away from double-teams, to cutting teammates, and/or the open man
-Solid individual defender; good feet, moves well laterally, doesn’t shy away from a challenge
-Extremely long arms help him be a disruptor - close and contests, deflections, occasional blocks/steals
-Plus defensive awareness, helps with purpose; again, uses length to disrupt and help on the boards
His game resembles...
Glen Rice - Both players have similar size, skills, and dimensions (and are both from Arkansas). I don’t know if Moody will ever be as prolific of a scorer as Rice was, but I do think he can be a better defender than the three-time All Star was in the NBA.
Mikal Bridges - A more modern comparison to a player who is currently serving as one of the elite role players in the NBA. Bridges is the proverbial ‘3-and-D’ prototype, and I think Moody offers similar upside and two-way potential
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope - Another SEC wing that produced very similar numbers to what Moody just produced last season at Arkansas. Moody has a much longer wingspan than Caldwell-Pope (who has been a positive NBA defender). And in the right role, he may provide more value offensively as well.
Best games/films of the season
March 2nd vs. South Carolina: 28 points (4-9 3PTA’s), 7 rebounds, 2 steals
March 6th vs. Texas A&M: 28 points (5-8 3PTA’s), 5 rebounds, 2 steals
March 13th vs. LSU: 28 points (4-10 3PTA’s), 9 rebounds, 2 steals
Video Credit: Tremendous Upside
Video Credit: The Scouting Rapport
Resume and By the numbers
- Was named All-State in the state of Arkansas after winning a state title his sophomore year in high school; played with Cade Cunningham, Scottie Barnes, and Day’ron Sharpe at Montverde Academy for two years
- Named to the All-SEC 1st Team (2020-21), All-SEC Freshmen 1st Team (2020-21)
- 2021 SEC Rookie of the Year
- Ranked 2nd in the SEC in free throws made (and attempted), 3rd in the SEC in scoring average, 3rd in Offensive Rating
- Scored 20 or more points in a game in nine contests this past season, made three or more three point field goals in a single game on eight separate occasions
1) 3 & D potential
Moody has the potential to fill a role that so many teams in the NBA are desperately searching for to add to their rotations, the ‘3 & D’ player.
Like I mentioned above in the scouting report, Moody has a +6 wingspan - which gives him excellent length on the perimeter compared to other wing prospects. I believe he has the chance to develop into a strong defensive presence in the NBA. Moody has quick feet, moves well laterally, is active closing out to shooters, and plays with a certain level of tenacity and disruptiveness that will serve him well as an on-ball defender.
In nine of Arkansas’ 32 contests last season, Moody recorded at least three stocks (combined steals and blocks in a single game). As an off-ball help defender, Moody is able to his his length and plus-instincts to help defend at the rim, as well as to get into passing lanes and create turnovers going the other way. He will also be able to help a team on the boards as a perimeter player (pulled down eight or more rebounds in a single game eight different times in 2020-21, 6.1 rebounds per/36).
For me, the part of his game that he will have to continue to develop at the next level to reach his full ‘3 & D’ potential is his outside shot. According to Synergy Sports, Moody ranked in the upper 75th percentile in college basketball last season in spot-up shooting (so that’s not bad). And Moody showed time and again his ability to attack hard closeouts with a one-dribble into a mid-range shot attempt. The SEC Rookie of the Year was a weapon for Arkansas beyond the arc last season, and he’s one of the youngest players in this draft class. But 35.8 percent on 162 attempts still leaves plenty of room for improvement and increased efficiency. He was more of a volume scorer than a floor-spacer last season for the Razorbacks - thriving in certain ancillary areas (very strong free throw rate: .482, 5.8 attempts per game; 2.0 offensive rebounds per game) that helped the SEC All-Freshmen member pile on points.
He played off the ball at Montverde Academy and during his one season at Arkansas, so you probably won’t get a lot of shot creation from Moody in one-on-one situations early in his career.
A swing-skill in Moody’s skill set that will ultimately determine his ceiling in the NBA will be his ability to make plays for others. We know he can potentially defend; he will be a threat to shoot it from the perimeter. But is there anything there as far as Moody developing into a passing play-making threat on offense? I think there is.
You didn’t see it a lot at Arkansas last season because of the role that he played within their offensive scheme, but there were flashes where Moody was able to make the correct reads as the pick-and-roll initiator (one-handed passes off the dribble, dump-offs, etc.). He was also able to find backdoor cutters and open bigs in the paint with sharp and on time passes; though his face-value secondary playmaking statistics still leave much to be desired (1.7 assists per/36 in 2020-21, 0.37 AST/USG).
It’s hasn’t necessarily been Moody’s role nor an expectation at this point in his development to handle the ball a lot and/or initiate offense for others, but if a team can unlock more of that part of his game, look out. You could have a player who becomes a really solid third or fourth option on a winning team.
He does value possessions and takes good care of the basketball. For a freshmen who averaged just under 34 minutes per game last season at Arkansas, Moody only committed 1.6 turnovers per contest (9.9 percent turnover rate).
Moody didn’t exactly excel finishing at the rim as a freshmen, and he doesn’t have an advanced arsenal of moves getting to the rim (off the dribble, floater, etc.). I wouldn’t count on getting to the line in the NBA as often as he did at the collegiate-level, so he will have to find another way to provide value on offense besides spacing. I think for Moody, it could be as a secondary playmaker initiating pick-and-roll offense.
Making a case for the Magic to draft Moses Moody in the ‘21 draft
|Does Moody fit the Weltman/Hammond archetype?||Yes|
|Would taking Moody in the lottery be considered a BPA/value selection?||No (Magic pick)
Perhaps (if the Chicago pick falls towards the end of the lottery)
|Would Moody provide the Magic with depth in a needed area?||Yes|
From an Orlando-centric perspective, I think Moses Moody makes a lot of sense as an addition to the core pieces Magic executives have already assembled into place. He’s a guy that I’ve liked for the Magic (as I watched him play) throughout his freshmen season. Hence, the following tweet from earlier this year:
Off-day is as good of a time as any to plug my favorite wing prospect in the college game :— Orlando Pinstriped Post (@OPPMagicBlog) January 17, 2021
Moses Moody, 6-6, 205
-39% 3PT%, 58% TS%
-Had great week against UGA, ALA
-Top-5 in SEC: OBPM, ORtg, PTS, OREB, FTM, 3PTM
-Played at Montverde Academy@AaronGoldstone pic.twitter.com/FuV4qTXhuf
You have two lead guards on the roster long-term in Fultz (signed an extension last December) and Cole Anthony (three years left on rookie deal); you’ve traded for a combo-guard at last season’s deadline in R.J. Hampton (three years left on rookie deal), you have two forwards in place in Isaac (signed an extension last December) and Chuma Okeke (three years left on rookie deal), and you have two young big mean in Wendell Carter Jr. and Mohamed Bamba (both are entering the final year of their respective rookie deals).
The one thing in this collection that seems to be missing is the exact type of player that Moody can become (and has been during his prep/collegiate career): a true floor-spacing wing player.
We all know about Orlando's top executives’ affinity for length. Moody has the +6 wingspan, he possess positional size and versatility. With veterans such as Terrence Ross, Gary Harris (entering the final year of his contract), and James Ennis (set to become a free agent this summer) seemingly not part of the current Magic timeline, drafting a depth swing-man such as Moody to develop long-term wouldn’t be such a bad idea from a roster construction standpoint either.
Now of course, Moody is not a prospect I’m advocating for the Magic to take with their pick in the lottery. However, if Chicago’s pick that is owed to Orlando (from the Vucevic trade) conveys (it’s top four protected), Moody should be squarely in the mix with that late lottery selection. ESPN ranks Moody as the 18th “best prospect available” on their Top 100 Big Board, Kevin O’Connor (The Ringer) has the Montverde Academy product 16th on his board, and Sam Vecenie (The Athletic) has him 11th on his big board (as of June 21st). /
After spending two years in Orlando to finish out his high school career, I think there’s a decent enough chance that Moses Moody could be on his way back to City Beautiful to join a roster loaded with young talent - but desperate for a long-term wing prospect with size and floor-spacing potential.
Aaron Goldstone has been writing for Orlando Pinstriped Post since 2017. You can follow him on Twitter at @AaronGoldstone.
Also, check out Aaron’s other scouting reports in this series: Scottie Barnes, Franz Wagner, and Keon Johnson.