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2016-17 Player Preview: E'Twaun Moore has golden opportunity in New Orleans to prove his worth

Can Moore Go From Luv-A-Bull to Luv-A-Bird?

NBA: Preseason-Dallas Mavericks at New Orleans Pelicans Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

When New Orleans signed E'Twaun Moore over the summer, most Pelicans fans knew precious little about the 26-year-old guard who spent time with Boston, Orlando, and most recently, Chicago. It’s difficult to blame anyone for this, though. He had spent 5 years in the association but never averaged more than 8.0 points a game or over 24 minutes per contest in a single season.

I had heard of Moore prior but honestly wasn't too familiar with his game as I’ve been forced to spend most of my time on WebMd — thanks New Orleans! Part of the reason I volunteered to write this article was because it would force me to do a bit more research and fully familiarize myself with this player before the regular season tips off this coming Wednesday night. At this point, I can happily say that I’m well acquainted with the team’s newest shooting guard, and now the only squabble is deciding how much he will fit into the Pels plans this year.

Coveted Role Player

Fans, in general, tend to over value their own players. This is the reason why we see so many wacky, unrealistic trade proposals generated by NBA followers whenever we near the trade deadline. This especially rings true when fans don't value a player on their team.

Before Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson departed for the Houston Rockets, the Pelicans organization made zero attempts to bring them back, but Pels fans were happy to be rid of the oft-injured, one-dimensional duo. Houston fans would be wise to take notice and note our previous grievances before placing too great of expectations.

NBA: Chicago Bulls at San Antonio Spurs Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

So, I was pleasantly surprised by all the out pouring of love and well wishing from Bulls fans when it was announced that Moore was going to sign with New Orleans. Unlike Gordon, whom Moore is replacing, Bulls fans were upset that the Bulls allowed E'Twaun to walk out of the door.

In addition, the Minnesota Timberwolves were also very interested in signing Moore during the last offseason. Yep, the same Wolves organization that is run by one Tom Thibodeau, who initially brought Moore to Chicago.

So to recap, Bulls fans loved Moore and wanted him to stay, and one of the most respected head coaches in the Association wished to add him to one of his teams for a second time.

Role Play

Moore appears to be, at least in theory, everything the 2016-2017 New Orleans Pelicans crave: smart, athletic, versatile, defensive minded, solid shooter and exhibits a "bring it every night" mentality.

Currently, Moore is on track to start for the Pelicans on opening night. In an ideal world Moore would work exclusively at shooting guard; however with the Pelicans still dealing with a few key absences, his versatility may be what helps the team most in early in the season. Moore has the ability to play small forward and point guard in a pinch. You certainly don't want him guarding LeBron James or Kevin Durant, but most teams don't have players approaching those kinds of talents at small forward.

Moore is relentless on defense — he rarely gives up on a play or is found woefully out of position. Doesn't that sound like a welcome upgrade from the defensive port-o-potty the Pels have routinely rolled out at shooting guard? This does not mean Moore should be penciled in for the next Defensive All-NBA team, but he is definitely an upgrade over Eric Gordon and his effort level is never in question.

Hey, if one’s defensive exploits are good enough to earn a rotation spot on a Thibodeau-led team, you should take it every day of the week.

Offensively is where Moore might actually surprise some Pelicans fans this season, though. Here's a fun fact you can throw out that will make you look really smart. Only two players in the Association shot at least 48% from the field and at least 45% from three point land. Who are these mystery men?

Stephen Curry and E'Twaun Moore.

That, my friend, is what you call good company.

In addition to great three point shooting last season, Moore also showed a surprisingly effective dribble drive game featuring some pretty nifty floaters. With Jrue Holiday out indefinitely, the Pelicans will need whatever offense they can get from Moore early in the season. Hopefully last season is a harbinger of even better things to come!

Culture Change

When Alvin Gentry and Dell Demps set out to reset the process to build around Anthony Davis, they had a few clear objectives: get better defensively, increase versatility, and add high character personnel. Too many times last season we saw sub-optimal effort from many on the Pelicans roster.

The organization is trying to remedy the issues with the signings of Moore, Solomon Hill, Langston Galloway and Buddy Hield. These are self made players — no one was expecting much out of them at the beginning of their careers and the vets of the bunch worked their way to impressively large contracts. This group has a non-stop motor and are continually working to stay on the court and help their teams win. This facet might wind up being Moore's best contribution although his preseason exploits per 36 minutes (20.7 PPG and 3.0 3PM) tried really hard to change our opinions.

I firmly believe that at this stage of Davis' career he is more of a thermometer than a thermostat. That is to say he reflects the temperature of the team instead of setting it. Davis is only 23 years old and may well develop into a great leader, but he's not there yet. I think the team’s brass, mainly Alvin Gentry, has recognized this, and instead of trying to force it to happen, he's brought in players that will have it no other way.

In my opinion, Gentry probably thinks that if he puts Davis on the court with highly competitive, team-first players, he will get better results from Davis, at least from an effort standpoint. Maybe that is true, maybe not, but it’s important to remember Bulls fans almost universally fawned over E'Twaun Moore. Could Pelicans fans soon feel the same way?

Let’s hope.


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