The 2021 NBA Draft is slowly but surely here. Granted, a month later than normal, but a (still) raging pandemic answers to no one. But every year, there are a few prospects that twinkle my eye and warrant me highlighting as they reach the precipice of making the blood, sweat, tears, and sacrifice worthwhile in fulfilling their dreams of becoming an NBA player. This year is no exception. Everyone is looking for wings that can shoot from deep. Arkansas wing Moses Moody is amongst the best in this year’s class.

Moses Moody is a complete prospect who checks just about every box a team would want out of a modern-day wing. His wingspan (7’3″) is on par with that of a pterodactyl, and if you needed proof then check out this photo of him from three years ago Moses’ mother tweeted showing Moses stretching his gangly arms from the floor to the top of a door frame. To think those arms likely have only gotten longer since that photo was taken. Moody takes advantage of his bountiful assortment of limbs time and time again on the defensive end of the floor to wreak havoc. He does a great job of getting deflections defending both on and off the ball and has good timing to swipe the ball away when his man goes up for a shot. Moody has solid feet to go with those long arms too to keep his man in front of him. Moody can have a difficult time playing through contact defensively, however, whether that be defending a bigger defender or navigating through screens, but those long arms and overall tenacity to stick with the play allows him to recover whenever he does get beat or still contest a shot from a larger offensive player. With his effort, size, and measurables, it’s hard to see a scenario where Moody is not a very good defender at the next level. 

Moses Moody’s defense provides him with one baseline to have a high floor as an NBA prospect. His shooting gives him another. Moody’s stroke is beautiful, majestic, and one of the best in the entire draft. If he gets a clean catch-and-shoot look beyond the arc, you best believe it will be cashed. Coach Eric Musselman used Moody in some creative ways and halfcourt sets to take advantage of Moody’s superior sharpshooting. This one right here in a pick and roll setting was a particular doozy that NBA teams run, or something akin to it, quite frequently.

 

Moses Moody shot a hair under 36% from three in his one season. Personally, I think he’s a better shooter than that percentage suggests. I think he can improve upon his 81% mark from the free-throw line, perhaps a more conducive indicator of Moody’s shooting prowess. Regardless, these shooting numbers to go with his defensive abilities are more than passable at the next level. He provides enough gravity to an offense that he should constantly force his defender to be occupied with the threat of Moody’s jumper beyond the arc at all times, and the ability to make a defense pay when his defender gets cute or is forced to rotate off of him to put out a fire elsewhere. Essentially, at worst, Moses Moody is your prototypical ‘3-and-D’ every NBA team can’t ever get enough of. What’s interesting is how much more Moses Moody can be than just that.

Every team needs as many ‘3-and-D’ players they can get their hands on. Sometimes though, that designation feels like a slight to a player that receives that label because it insinuates they can’t go eat for themselves as an offensive player. That’s not the case with Moses Moody. Before the start of the NCAA Tournament’s second weekend of games, Bleacher Report’s Draft guru Jonathan Wasserman posted a spreadsheet of prospects comparing their efficiency as pull-up jumpers. Moses Moody checked in hovering around one point per possession on pull-up jumpers over the course of the season. Granted, it wasn’t on the type of volume one would like from a potential lottery pick, but he did boast an efficiency better or near the likes of potential number one overall pick and high school teammate Cade Cunningham, other likely top five picks in Evan Mobley and Jalen Suggs, likely top ten picks in Davion Mitchell and James Bouknight, and other lottery picks who play a similar style to Moody in Franz Wagner and Corey Kispert. 

The film backs up the numbers too. Moses Moody is already a pro at creating off the bounce after he gets run off the three-point line. This play here in transition is a great example of Moody leveraging his shooting ability to his advantage to get a better shot (a layup) in return once the defense takes away his corner three.

 

Unfortunately, that won’t always lead to layups, especially in the NBA. Luckily, Moody has great touch inside the arc to make defenses pay by burying them with floaters and mid-range jumpers too.

 

Clearly, Moses Moody is not *just* a ‘3-and-D’ guy. The first step to being more than that is being able to create in situations just like those, and Moody proved time and time again he’s capable of doing so. But is Moses Moody the type of guy to go get you a bucket whenever you need it? I don’t think he’s quite there yet, but I do believe he is capable of reaching that level as a scorer, which, combined with his other impressive set of skills, starts putting you on the level of stardom in the NBA. 

The NCAA Tournament was a bit of a rude awakening for Moses Moody, however, where he shot just 16-48 from the field in four tournament games. His efficiency waned the further his Arkansas Razorbacks went in the big dance. The Elite Eight matchup against the Baylor Bears was particularly jarring, where Davion Mitchell and Jared Butler flat-out refused to let Moody get comfortable at any point of the game. That’s where Moody’s area of improvement with his handle, strength, and playmaking really came to focus. 

But, Moses Moody isn’t starting from scratch here. His handle isn’t the tightest in the world, but with the help of excellent footwork and the threat of his jumper, he’s still able to create plenty of separation in 1v1 situations. Take this play against Texas Tech in the NCAA Tournament for example. Moody hits his defender with a jab step and follows it with a mean, quick crossover and then a step back to finish it off once his defender tries to get back into the play, splashing a jumper in his grill. Later in that same game, while Texas Tech was on the comeback trail and dwindled Arkansas’ lead down to just one point, Moody hit Tech with that same crossover stepback jumper to give him room to bank a three to get the lead back up to four.

Moses Moody’s got the finesse to his game offensively, but he also isn’t afraid of contact either. There were numerous games this season where Moody wasn’t seeing the fruits of his labor from his overall percentage from the field, so he made up for it by getting to the free-throw line. Moody shot nearly six free throws a game last season. Moody had six games this season alone where he shot at least ten free throws. He was unafraid to stick his nose in the thick of things on the offensive glass to try to buy himself either a layup or free throws. That type of toughness will not only help boost his own efficiency but help whatever team drafts him as a whole.

Moses Moody is one of this draft’s safest prospects. You know you’re getting a long, versatile, 6’6″ 205-pound wing that can defend multiple positions, spread the floor, and attack a closeout. In that sense, Moody reminds me a lot of Mikal Bridges of the Finals-forged Phoenix Suns. But I believe Moody has the tools to gradually work his way into becoming an able scorer who can initiate offense and be a constant threat roaming the three-point line like Ray Allen when he donning the green and white in Boston. I have zero doubts that Moses Moody is and can be a winning player in the NBA the second he gets there, and I firmly believe Moody becoming an All-Star and the type of player Allen was as a Celtic is within his range of outcomes. It’ll take some work for him to get there, but by all accounts, Moody is a great young man with a hard and diligent work ethic who is willing to put the time in to be great. The fact that Moody is one of the youngest players in the draft, having just turned 19 years old at the end of May, can’t hurt his cause either. Hopefully, NBA teams picking in the middle-to-late of the lottery see Moses Moody similarly, or they will regret not drafting him for years to come.

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