The Orlando Magic made a low-risk, medium-reward move in August when they signed E'Twaun Moore as a free agent in order to shore up their backcourt. The Boston Celtics deemed him expendable after his rookie season due to the strength of their roster, not due to any particular problem with Moore's game. And Orlando, needing a healthy point guard with Ish Smith to miss training camp, signed him to a cheap contract.
|Points Per Game
|Rebounds Per Game
|Assists Per Game
|Points Per 36
|Rebounds Per 36
|Assists Per 36
All statistics in this table from Moore's player page at basketball-reference. Career-best statistics highlighted in gold; career-worst statistics highlighted in silver.
Moore, of course, isn't a natural point guard, but that's where he began the season. As it wore on, his deficiencies as a playmaker became more clear. Moore proved useful as a spot-up shooter, particularly playing alongside J.J. Redick, a more natural passer and play initiator, and he developed a signature shot: a driving teardrop/push hybrid from the right side of the paint.
The acquisition of Beno Udrih mercifully freed Moore of his playmaking duties and enabled him to play away from the ball almost full-time until Jameer Nelson's season-ending ankle sprain pressed Moore back to point guard. There's something inherently wrong with a point guard without passing instincts--the position requires some level of playmaking acumen--but good teams can make such an arrangement work, provided that it has the right personnel and philosophy. In theory, Moore should have worked out just fine playing alongside the likes of Redick and Hedo Turkoglu. In practice, the Magic traded Redick and benched Turkoglu after injuries and a positive test for a banned substance wrecked his season.
At 23, Moore has plenty of room to grow, and there's still a chance that he'll eventually grasp how to run an offense: he did have five-plus assists in 13 of his 21 starts on the season, a positive sign. He's best suited to play off the ball, but a late-season shooting slump--he shot 27.7 percent in the last nine games of the year--utterly wrecked his percentages and, in turn, his effectiveness.
Orlando will almost certainly bring Moore back into the mix for another season; his salary becomes fully guaranteed unless he's waived on or before June 30th, according to ShamSports. Moore isn't a key player in Orlando's rebuild, but the Magic can afford to take cheap looks at young talent that other teams have cast aside. He isn't yet a success story for Rob Hennigan, but the chapter on him isn't closed, either.