With multiple first-round picks in the upcoming 2022 NBA Draft, the San Antonio Spurs ought to be doing their due diligence and have a binder full of research on every potential prospect to snag at each pick. With the 25th pick, the Spurs seem to be eyeing Duke wing Wendell Moore, and it looks like a match made in heaven.
An undersized forward at only 6’6”, Moore does not let his smaller size prevent him from scoring at all three levels. AJ Griffin and Paolo Banchero rightfully held the spotlight last season at Duke, but Moore was able to quietly shoot well over 40% from three while also proving he can get to his spot in the paint to score.
I don’t usually make a note of free throw percentage with prospects, but his 81% mark from the line is significantly higher than the 75% the Spurs averaged this past year, which killed them down the stretch.
In addition to his scoring attributes, Moore is a solid offensive weapon all around. Depending on how his development goes, Moore could be a secondary ball-handler off the bench as soon as his rookie season, allowing Josh Primo and Lonnie Walker (pending) to get open for shots while he and Tre Jones run the offense. Given his high usage at Duke, he has shown he is not turnover prone, and with Primo and Walker on the bench unit, some safe hands are a must.
Scouting Wendell Moore's defensive game
It’s true that his defense is undisciplined, but in the college game, most players have that fault. The truth is Moore is a gifted athlete with a high defensive motor and would fit in seamlessly with the Spurs’ defensive rotation, be it in the starting five alongside Murray and Vassell or off the bench playing second fiddle to Primo as the chief defender.
On paper, he is a poor shot blocker at the college level, but that’s because players do not shoot when he is the primary defender. If shots don’t go up, they can’t be swatted, but he has the physical tools to be a rim protector for his size when he enters the trigger-happy NBA.
The only downside to adding Moore to the rotation is that the Spurs simply do not need another wing. At present, Johnson, Vassell, Primo, Richardson, and even Joe Weiskamp can all play that position, but adding more shooting is never a bad thing.
With a lottery pick and hopefully the addition of a big man in the middle of the round, adding the best player available would help, not hurt, and Moore will probably be that guy. Duke has a knack for giving the league some of the best wing players. Jayson Tatum, Luke Kennard, Cam Reddish, RJ Barrett, and Brandon Ingram all come to mind, and they have shot 37% combined from deep.
If the Spurs can add a piece like that in the late first round, the sky is the limit.