Analyzing Prospects the Warriors Should Draft Part 1: Wendell Moore Jr.


Though the Golden State Warriors have just won the NBA Championship, the front office cannot celebrate for too long, as they need to turn their attention towards the 2022 NBA Draft, taking place exactly a week after the Warriors were crowned as world champions. In the first round of the 2022 NBA Draft, the Warriors hold the 28th overall pick, and though it is not a lottery pick that the Warriors have had in the past two NBA Drafts, a first round pick is still quite valuable, especially with the Warriors' superb player-development system (for example, look at Jordan Poole, who was taken with the 28th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft). This article is part 1 of a 3 part series which talks about the prospects that the Warriors realistically can, and should, draft with their 28th overall pick. First up, we have Wendell Moore Jr., a junior out of Duke University. 

Coming out of high school in the class of 2019, Moore was a consensus 5-star recruit and was named a McDonalds All American. According to ESPN, he was the 22nd best player in the entire nation, and he committed to Duke University on October 8, 2018. Duke is one of the most prestigious basketball schools ever, so naturally, Moore was not the only elite-level high school recruit to commit to Duke. Vernon Carey Jr., the 6th best player in the nation at the time, and Matthew Hurt, the 11th best player in the nation at the time, both committed to Duke as well. So, as a freshman, Moore did not have the space or freedom to do whatever he wanted for Duke, resulting in him averaging 7.4 points per game on 42% shooting for the Blue Devils. Those stats are decent but not NBA-worthy, so he decided to stay at Duke for another season. Though Duke had the 3rd best recruiting class in his sophomore season, drawing in 3 consensus 5-star recruits again, he showed signs of improvement in almost every aspect of his game, including points, efficiency, rebounding, assists. He clearly learned how to be a better player within a system, and learned how to fit in and play effectively alongside high school and college basketball superstars. He opted to stay at Duke for another year after learning that his junior year was going to be the legendary Coach K's final year, and that decision ended up working wonders for Moore. He was named captain of the team that year, even with Duke getting another pool of talents recruits such as AJ Griffin and Paolo Banchero, who are projected to be lottery picks in the 2022 NBA Draft. He acted as the Swiss-Army knife for the Blue Devils, averaging 13.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game on 50% shooting. Those stats are honestly better than some of the projected lottery picks' stats, but since Moore is already a junior, he is projected to go in the late first round of the 2022 NBA Draft, right where the Warriors' pick is


Moore's biggest strength, in the mind of the Warriors' front office, will most likely be his willingness to buy into a system and play alongside superstars. In all three years of his collegiate career, Moore has played with at least 2 McDonalds All American each year, yet he is still able to put up decent statistics, especially in his junior season. He was also an All American himself; yet, at Duke, he was never trying to do too much or be the main guy. It seems like he just wants to do whatever possible to help his team win, which is definitely something that was instilled in him by the legendary Coach K. Buying into a system and doing things for the benefit of the team is certainly something the Warriors value. Moore will also have no problem fitting in alongside the Warriors' stars, as he has been playing alongside stars for his entire collegiate career. Another one of Moore's strengths is his physical gifts. His stature, in terms of height and wingspan, is quite similar to the Warriors' Moses Moody, as they are both 6'5 with wingspans of over 7 feet. However, he seems a lot stronger than Moody. His physical build is what NBA teams in the modern era are looking for, and it is a direct correlation with one of his other strengths: defense. He clearly puts in the effort, and with his long wingspan, he is a menace in the passing lanes and is extremely switchable. He is also very physical on defense and does not shy away from contact. His swipes and anticipation on defense are also quite good. Along with defense, passing and facilitating the offense is also one of his strengths. Though Moore is labeled as a small forward on the stat sheet, he has been the point guard and facilitated the offense many times for Duke, which is why he averaged 4.4 assists per game. He has handled the pick-and-roll for Duke countless times this season, and he has again been quite effective at it and consistently makes the right reads. With his combination of passing, build, IQ, and defense, he might be the closest thing to Draymond Green in this draft class. 


His most glaring weakness is his streaky shooting. Though a comparison was made between Moore and Moses Moody, Moore's shooting is nowhere near Moody's shooting coming out of Arkansas. Statistically, he shot 41% from three, which is not bad, but bad does not mean streaky. He has not taken many threes in the season, and in some games, he cannot miss, but in others, he cannot shoot to save his life. Overall, his mechanics look fine, but his shot is just inconsistent and looks stiff at times. When he handles the pick-and-roll, defenders usually go under the screen, essentially daring Moore to shoot the three. Anytime a defender goes under a screen, it is an indication that the defender does not trust the offensive player's shot. Another one of his weaknesses is his lack of burst and athleticism. He is not really a "hang-in-the-air" type player when he is finishing, but rather he goes with more finesse on the glass and pump-fakes to finish around the rim. Though he is physical on defense, and he cannot really finish with contact due to his lack of athleticism. Also, having not a lot of athleticism means that Moore is forced to play smaller than he actually is, which is unfortunate because his physical tools are eye-popping. Those are his primary weaknesses. One can be improved upon, especially with the Warriors' training staff, but the other may not be. 

Overall, Moore is a defensive-minded, smart, and versatile wing who will have no problem playing his role and fitting into the Warriors' system if he is drafted there, but Moore is certainly one of the prospects that the Warriors have their eye on. 

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