Who He's With
Mikki Moore's season with the Stampede aids journey back to NBA

By Travis Tate
His name in the rumor mills, blogs, Twitter posts and newspapers, Mikki Moore had to think his shot at the NBA was coming.
The 12-year NBA veteran deserved the assumption.
He led the NBA in field goal percentage in 2006-07, had been an integral part of two long runs in the playoffs with New Jersey and Boston, and had then come back to star for the Stampede in 2011-12. He played in 33 games and averaged 11.0 points, 7.3 rebounds and shot 55.4 percent from the floor, all the while bringing leadership, basketball IQ, scoring and rebounding.
Finally, the former Stampede star got the call and landed with the Golden State Warriors on April 16, just about a week after the Stampede's final game of the season.
Moore was brought to Golden State to help aid a depleted front line, which has included major injuries to: Ekpe Udoh (wrist surgery), Andris Biedrins (groin, ankle, foot), David Lee (groin), Kwame Brown (torn pectoral), and Andrew Bogut (ankle).
"They kind of wanted to see if they want to pick me up for next season," Moore explained. "They need a league veteran, plus with Lee and Biedrins down with injuries right now, they needed another guy to help finish this season."
Signs are pointing to the future with talent like Lee and Bogut, plus youngsters Steph Curry and Klay Thompson solidifying the rotation. But add a new coach, extreme youth and throw in a dash of roster upheaval due to trades, and the team is 22-39 and has been ripe for a veteran presence.
Enter Mikki Moore.
Moore has already found some key differences in the comparison of D-League to NBA.
"There's definitely a higher IQ, especially on offense, and on defense too," Moore said. "You have to know who you're playing with, and who you're playing against. Everybody knows the game, but some of the younger guys may lose some concentration sometimes in the D-League."
In the "who he's playing with" category, Moore's spot on the roster now sees him getting minutes as a back-up to fellow former D-Leaguer Mickell Gladness. In an ever-changing league, Moore can simply look to the court to see a familiar face. And in Gladness, Moore sees potential.
"It's encouraging," Moore said on Friday afternoon, before starting a back-to-back-to-back. "He listens very well, he's willing to learn, and that will help him be successful. He works hard, his work ethic is good and he knows how to play. He doesn't make too many mistakes. Obviously, he still has things to learn - what we call little veteran tricks and stuff like that - but he has to just learn his role and know who he's playing."
So, fantastic news came for Mikki - his dreams of making it back to the NBA had happened, which is no small feat for the 12-year NBA veteran. His teammates welcomed him "with open arms," but who would he be playing against?
No other way to celebrate than to compete against possibly the greatest post player of the last 20-plus years (Tim Duncan) and possibly the greatest post player of the next 20 years (Andrew Bynum) within two days. Moore saw 8 minutes, 31 seconds of court time against the Spurs in a 99-120 loss, before hitting the court against the Lakers two nights later on national TV. Moore played 10:39 and made both of his shots (including a buzzer-beater to end the the first quarter), but the Warriors lost 99-87 and Bynum went off for 31 points.
"He's an all-star by all means, but it's hard to adjust on my part because you haven't played against that talent level all year," Moore reasoned. "He's over-sized, has good footwork and can shoot hook shots with both hands, you just have to take him on and do your best.
"It's been about two years (since he played in the NBA). I'll tell you, the pace of the game is a lot faster than the D-League, things happen quicker, but at the same time, it only took me a couple trips up and down to get used to it again."
When asked if he thought commonly-heard names like Paul Carter or Seth Tarver would be likely NBA stars in the future, Moore agreed and said those two, along with Marcus Banks, are "no-brainers," but added another name to the mix.
"I think David Bailey can compete and be a back-up point on any team. He scores when he wants to, but he also gets people involved. He'd pick up on plays quicker than most, I think, and he's a good overall player to be out there with you - he's hungry to win."


Stampede center becomes 53rd GATORADE Call-Up in 2011-12

BOISE, Idaho, April 16, 2012 The Golden State Warriors today signed Idaho Stampede center Mikki Moore for the record 53rd GATORADE Call-Up of the 2011-12 NBA Development League season. Moore joins more than 100 NBA players with NBA D-League experience currently on 2011-12 rosters.

Moore (7-0, 225, Nebraska) appeared in 33 games (32 starts) for the Stampede this season, averaging 11.0 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 28.1 minutes. He recorded six double-doubles and three games of 20 points or more.

A 12-year NBA veteran, Moore returns to the Warriors having spent 23 games with the team during the 2009-10 season, when he averaged 5.0 points, 3.0 rebounds and 17.7 minutes. In 557 career NBA games (181 starts), Moore averaged 5.8 points, 3.9 rebounds and 18.2 minutes.

Moore is expected to join the Warriors today and be available when the team hosts the San Antonio Spurs tonight.