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E’Twaun Moore adds buckets to Suns’ 2nd unit, increases versatility

New Orleans Pelicans guard E'Twaun Moore (55) dishes off to guard Jrue Holiday (11) as Phoenix Suns forward Cameron Johnson (23) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

The Phoenix Suns were going to be one of the big winners of the NBA offseason no matter what they did after Saturday. Adding Chris Paul in a trade and getting good value out of the full mid-level exception in Jae Crowder will do that for ya.

But they bolstered their case even more with the reported signing of E’Twaun Moore.

Last season, the Suns were 6.8 points per 100 possessions worse when Ricky Rubio was off the court. It was 6.5 for Devin Booker.

Phoenix was a playoff team when those guys were on the court together, but when one came off, they were worse. And when both were off, they were a trainwreck.

Adding a better third guard was a must, a burden softened by the way bubble addition Cameron Payne played over eight games in Orlando. That sample size, though, should not have been enough to hedge the second unit’s backcourt entirely on, and it looks like Jones agreed.

Moore provides the Suns a third player who can create his own offense off the bounce outside of Paul and Booker. While he’s not a point guard who will run the offense, he’s a bucket, and an efficient one at that.

Moore’s career shooting numbers are 45.5% from the field and 39.0% at three-point range. That’s fairly impressive for a guard that’s never taken over 10 shots per game over nine seasons.

It’s all about craft and skill with Moore. He’s one of the NBA’s undisputed floater kings. Moore has taken at least 23% of his shots from the short mid-range area in his last eight seasons, a high, rare number that even got into the 30s in four of those years.

As you might expect, his proficiency there is just about unmatched, shooting 43%, 48% and 53% from there in his prior three seasons, respectively.

New Orleans loved to use Moore in off-ball motion, clearing his path to his comfort zone on runners.

He is the definition of a get to your spot scorer. Once he gets within 3-9 feet, his elite touch takes over.

My guy has some sauce to his game too if he needs to make room himself.

As you can tell, Moore is not the most conventional guard but the package of on-ball scoring and off-ball spacing is more than enough. In his three seasons for New Orleans, when Moore had fully developed as a shooter, he shot a combined 42.6% on catch-and-shoot three-pointers.

He has his limitations offensively. Moore holds a primary residence in Floaterville, USA, because he does not have the athleticism to finish around the rim. That lack of explosiveness is also there against on-ball defense, where the focus is more on playing at a controlled place and being agile in his initial movements. That’s why Alvin Gentry liked getting Moore moving around screens.

This caps Moore’s playmaking. He’s an extra pass guy if anything, which is still going to be useful, especially in Phoenix’s “0.5” offense.

His turnover percentages have always been good, a key ingredient in a player like him being a net positive offensively. Moore picks his spots, unlike guys in his player archetype that can often get lost in hero ball. That’s not him.

“I think he had a span where he didn’t touch the floor for 2-3 games. Never bothered (him),” Pelicans forward Zion Williamson said of Moore. “He was like, ‘I know my role. I know what I can bring to the team. When the team is ready, they’ll bring me.'”

Moore also likes to mix it up, which is where most of his defensive pluses come in.

In this clip, you’ll see the lack of speed, but he’s being a nuisance and still covering his spots.

With the additions of Paul, Jae Crowder and Moore joining Jevon Carter and Mikal Bridges, the Suns are going to be one of the most annoying teams in the league.

There’s a handful of clips of Moore drawing fouls like this one, where he gets grabbed because he’s just bothering someone too much.

Where Moore slots into the Suns’ pecking order on the depth chart is unclear. As a combo, he’s likely competing with minutes for Jevon Carter, who earned his own share of minutes for his play last season as a defender and shooter. While Payne is more of a score-first point guard, he can still initiate some things, where he’ll likely separate himself.

Regardless, general manager James Jones values depth on a roster. And with that, he gives his head coach Monty Williams a variety of skills and plenty of lineup possibilities. Assuming Dario Saric is back, this is a deep team.

That’s a pretty remarkable thing to say considering you couldn’t construct a Suns team using all of 2014-18 that is as good as this one. Jones has had himself one heck of an offseason.


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