With the Nuggets bringing in Wendell Moore Jr. yesterday for a pre-draft workout, it only seems fitting to follow with a player profile on the Duke wing. Coming out of high school, Wendell Moore Jr. was a 5 star recruit, and looked at as a potential one and done sort of prospect. That didn’t come to fruition though, because early on in his college career he struggled mightily. Only averaging 8.6 points per game, 4.5 rebounds per game, 2.3 assists per game, and on 41.7% from the field, 28.3% from the 3 point line, and 82.3% from the free throw line.
This season, though, he improved his output a lot. He went from being thought of as a non-prospect to someone who people (including myself) have in their first round big boards. The leap in production was impressive, and he got better at the margins too. Most of the time, the box score only tells some of the tale; that remains true with Wendell Moore Jr. too. His defensive impact was immense for Duke — often guarding the opposing teams best perimeter threat. He overall looked far more comfortable in his junior year than ever before in his career — the shot came around in a big way, and his playmaking took a jump.
Wendell Moore Jr., Wing, Duke
Height (w/ shoes): 6 feet 5.5 inches
Weight: 217.4 pounds
Wingspan: 7 feet 0.5 inches
Age: 20 (09/18/2001)
Wendell Moore’s measurements from the NBA Combine really helped put into perspective just how disruptive he can be. He has very quick hands on defense, and with a wingspan over 7 feet long he’s someone who has the length, athleticism, and feel to be a good defender in the NBA. At the workout yesterday, it really shined through. Another piece of information often overlooked about Wendell Moore is the fact that he is only 20. People often assume he is older due to him being a junior, but he is in fact going to be the same age as Chet Holmgren on draft night.
College Career Statistics
Wendell Moore Jr.’s frame allows him to matchup with guards, wings, and forwards. He has a lot of defensive versatility and can be used to guard an array of players. He spent time guarding the opposing team’s best players, because Duke trusted him to be able to stop them. He has quick hands, and gets a lot of steals from stripping guys while they’re dribbling. Wrap around steals, where he reaches around a player who has already gotten by him and then pokes it away from said player, are another thing he does frequently and gets away with because of his long wingspan.
Using his length and lateral quickness he is able to keep pace with ball handlers — beating them to their spots with regularity. He shuts down driving lanes and forces people to pass. Absorbing contact and remaining vertical with his length also allows him to be a okay presence at the rim if he’s attacked with drives. Overall, he’s someone the Nuggets could ask to immediately step in and be a defensive piece, at least on-ball.
Wendell Moore Jr. is very good at making the extra pass and at being a secondary pick and roll threat. He wasn’t the Blue Devil’s main ball handler, but that wasn’t because of him — it was because they had Paolo Banchero. When he was given the opportunity though, he had a good pace and feel for the game. In pick and roll, he had a knack for finding the roller in tight windows. He liked throwing lob passes to Mark Williams — he just kept the ball popping.
On drives, if he got cut off he was good at finding the right kick out pass, or dishing it to the dunker spot. He doesn’t make the most advanced reads, but he’s very solid at taking what the defense gives him and exploiting holes in their scheme. A secondary ball handling role is very much on the table for Wendell if he can hit his ceiling.
Wendell Moore Jr. has a lot of scoring versatility. The pull up midrange jumper was something he looked very comfortable with. He became a very good catch and shoot threat from beyond the arc, shooting 45.7% on catch and shoot jumpers. It was a huge improvement over his past seasons at Duke and his jumper looked more polished as well. He’s comfortable on and off the ball, and moves well. His off-ball cutting is a thing of beauty, and would fit very well in what the Nuggets do.
While Wendell Moore Jr. is someone who has some shot creation upside, I’d like to see him get better at driving to his left more comfortably. He struggled to finish sometimes going left, and I think he could get to a point of being an ambidextrous finisher. He can finish with his left right now, just not at a great rate. He also is less comfortable pulling up from the 3 point line than he is from the mid range. Extending his off the dribble range to that far out would do wonders for his game.
This area of Wendell’s game isn’t necessarily bad, but he sometimes has defensive lapses. It’s the case with a ton of young players and I’m not that concerned about it. He can be a tad bit too aggressive at times; leading to reach in fouls and making risky gambles that don’t pay off. However, that’s just sort of the price you pay with rookies. With proper attention by the development staff, he would be fine in this area. It’s an area to improve, but it’s safe to assume he will improve.
Projected Draft Range: 25th-30th
Denver Stiffs Big Board: 23rd overall
Wendell Moore Jr. is quickly becoming a fan favorite for who they want the Nuggets to target in this years draft. I have to say I agree. His defense and offense both would fit needs that the Nuggets have and he has the size the Nuggets are lacking. His quick hands and steals would be welcome on the perimeter on one end — and his shooting would be more than welcome on the other. He is definitely one of my guys for this years draft.