Arnett Moultrie: A New Look In The Post
Following the conclusion of the 2011-12 season, head coach Doug Collins and president Rod Thorn were forthright about their team’s needs moving forward- improved perimeter shooting and an enhanced post presence. Late in the first round, the Sixers saw a unique opportunity to fill the latter deficit.
With the NBA Champion Miami Heat on the clock with the 27th-overall pick and one of the Sixers’ top targets, Mississippi State big man Arnett Moultrie, still on the board, Thorn consummated a deal that sent the Sixers’ 45th-overall selection and a future, lottery-protected first-round pick to Miami in return for the rights to 27th-overall pick Arnett Moultrie.
“Over the course of the draft, (the potential for such a trade with the Heat) materialized,” Thorn told the media following the draft. “Our feeling was that (Moultrie) was one of the top-10 players in the draft and that he was the kind of player we could use on this team.”
The move was a no-brainer for Thorn and the Sixers, who many experts had expected to take Moultrie with their own first-round pick (15th overall).
A junior standout at Mississippi State, the 6-11, 233-pound forward/center averaged a double-double in 2011-12 (16.4 points and 10.5 rebounds), earning First Team All-SEC honors. Success did not come as quickly for Moultrie as he would have hoped, though. He spent his freshman and sophomore seasons at UTEP, where he struggled to make an impact before making the difficult decision to sit out all of 2010-11 in order to transfer to Mississippi State.
In his year off the court, he developed his offensive repertoire, becoming a more consistent shooter and a stronger finisher around the rim. He got to the free-throw line more than twice as often in his lone season with the Bulldogs than he had in his two seasons in El Paso, converting 78.0% when he got there, up from 65.1% as a sophomore. He also extended his range out beyond the three-point line, knocking down 44.4% of his attempts from downtown after converting under 30% in his two prior seasons.
It is in the post, though, where Moultrie really shines. He’s a versatile scorer who can play with his back to the basket or take it hard to the rack. Blessed with a deadly first step and deceptive ball-handling skills, he is capable of beating most big men off the dribble. He utilizes his great length (7-2.25 wingspan) and 37.5-inch vertical (three inches higher than that of former dunk contest participants and new-teammate Andre Iguodala) to pull down loose balls on the offensive end (3.7 offensive boards per game in 2011-12) and finish strongly at the basket.
For a team whose leading rebounder in the postseason was second-year guard Evan Turner (7.5 per game), Moultrie’s tenacity on the glass will help fill an immediate need in the frontcourt.
“The Sixers are a really good squad,” Moultrie said following a workout with the team earlier in June. “I think they need a little help rebounding and could use big man who can play above the rim. I bring that to the table.”
UPDATE: Arnett Moultrie suffered a left ankle sprain during a June 25 predraft workout. The injury will keep him out of July's Orlando Summer League. Moultrie will travel with the team to Orlando to receive treatment on the ankle and work with the coaching staff learning the team's system.