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E’Twaun Moore a valuable piece for Suns with uncertainty about CP3

Milwaukee Bucks guard Bryn Forbes fouls Phoenix Suns guard E'Twaun Moore, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

“Stay ready so you don’t gotta get ready” is the motto for Phoenix Suns combo guard E’Twaun Moore.

Head coach Monty Williams called Moore’s value “indescribable” on Friday, and part of it has to do with situations like the Suns find themselves currently in with Chris Paul.

There are still unknowns for Paul’s status heading into the Western Conference Finals after he was ruled out and placed under the league’s health and safety protocols on Wednesday. That could mean he potentially misses games in the series, which would require tweaks to the rotation.

Williams could go a few different directions, some he’s noted in the past two days, like Devin Booker running some point and Cam Payne’s role increasing. Those two are likely to take place and both lend to the inclusion of Moore.

When Payne was dealing with injuries and inconsistent play through some portions of the season’s opening half, Moore gave the Suns good minutes as an experienced ball-mover and another threat off the bounce.

“He’s always ready. That’s one thing about E. He stays ready,” Payne said of Moore on Friday. “We actually just played out there today and he was killing us today.”

Moore has one of the best floaters in basketball, and that midrange area is where the 32-year-old can also set up his teammates.

This season he’s averaging 4.9 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game over 27 appearances and 14.1 minutes a night. While he shot only 31.4% from deep this year on 35 total attempts, Moore is a career 38.8% shooter at three-point range and has strong catch-and-shoot numbers on his resume.

That versatility in his offensive game and veteran know-how makes him a good fit to either lead the offense in spurts or play off the ball.

Moore has shown what that aforementioned motto has meant this season on a few different occasions. In his lone start this year, Moore played 40 minutes in a Suns win over the Cleveland Cavaliers and shot 7-of-10 from the field for 17 points, one rebound, four assists, two steals and a block.

When the Suns tried to still get a win while resting key players in the regular season finale against the San Antonio Spurs, it was Moore who stepped up with 22 points in 21 minutes on 9-for-10 shooting off the bench.

Those types of heroics are not exactly what the Suns would need out of Moore if Paul were to miss time. It would be more about effective minutes patching up the holes in the rotation left by Paul’s absence, and that’s where Moore is a good bet to help out.

“Not only his steadiness on the floor but the way he carries himself off the floor,” Williams said of Moore’s value. “Case in point that last San Antonio game, he hadn’t played in a while and played like he’s been in the rotation for a few weeks. If we’re in a situation where Chris can’t play, we feel comfortable putting E’Twaun out there on the floor.

“We can go Book at the point some, Cam at the point, Cam at the 2 — there’s a number of options we have but having E’Twaun and also [Jevon Carter] to play in that guard spot is something that we feel like is an advantage for us as far as depth is concerned.”


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