E’Twaun Moore’s big summer
|07.10.12 at 8:23 pm ET|
ORLANDO — There is little doubt that E’Twaun Moore can play in the NBA. The question is whether he’ll be playing in Boston. If Moore isn’t waived by midnight on Sunday, July 22 after the Celtics‘ final summer league game in Las Vegas, then the second-year of his contract will become guaranteed.
At the moment, Moore’s spot with the Celtics looks fairly secure. With Avery Bradley undergoing surgery on his right shoulder at New England Baptist Hospital on Tuesday, the depth in the backcourt is currently Rajon Rondo, a recuperating Bradley and Moore. Soon, free agent guard Jason Terry will join them when he officially signs a deal for the mid-level exception. The Celtics are actively working to acquire another veteran guard like Courtney Lee to offset the loss of Bradley, who could be out to start next season.
Even if they do land another guard, there may still be a place for the second-year player. He showed flashes in 38 games last season making 38 percent of his 3-pointers. His breakout moment happened here in Orlando when he came off the bench to score 16 points in 18 minutes in a dramatic comeback win over the Magic.
“I’m just trying to play,” he said on Monday. “Play hard and get better. That’s all I can control and that’s all I’m thinking about.”
From the day he arrived, Moore has handled himself confidently. He has no doubts that he belonged and it wasn’t an accident that he was usually among the 13 active players during the postseason where he saw action in nine playoff games, mostly in mop-up situations.
“I don’t think there’s ever a time when he’s not confident,” his former Purdue teammate JaJuan Johnson said. “He’s been the man since he was younger. He’s always been confident, he’s always been the better player where he’s from. I think that’s good for him. He’s mentally tough. I’ve never seen him playing basketball get down. He’s always focused on the task at hand.”
Moore has mostly run the point in summer league and while his size (6-foot-4, 191 pounds) says point guard, he may be better served playing off the ball. Moore had another good game in the Celtics’ 82-73 win over the Nets on Tuesday, scoring 15 points on 5-for-12 shooting with five rebounds, four assists and just two turnovers.
Through two games, he’s the team’s leading scorer with 31 points and has eight assists against just four turnovers. He’s shooting just 39 percent, but he’s also had to create most of his shots himself. He’s not a natural playmaker at the point, but he’s been solid.
“He’s growing, he looks good,” said summer league coach Ty Lue. “He plays at his own pace. You can never speed him up. You can never fluster him. He’s doing a good job.”
There’s a long way to go between now and July 22, but Moore is making the most of his opportunity.