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E’Twaun Moore deserves to be on your fantasy team

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Moore is fourth in the entire NBA in 3PT% yet is owned in only a quarter of leagues. Why?

USA TODAY/Peter Rogers Illustrations

E’Twaun Moore is a 28 year old professional basketball player. He plays for the New Orleans Pelicans as their starting Small Forward, but he’s mainly played as a Shooting Guard in his 8 year career (he and Jrue Holiday, who used to be the Pelicans Point Guard and is now the starting SG, are the same height, 6’4”). Moore played for Purdue and was a 2nd round draft pick by the Boston Celtics; he’s also played for the Orlando Magic and the Chicago Bulls.

I’m telling you all this because you don’t know who E’Twaun Moore is and I think that should change.

Moore is averaging 13 points this season (his career high) on 53% shooting (ditto) with 2 assists, while also averaging the most rebounds (2.7) and steals (1.0) of his career. Because you’re such an intuitive and clever reader, you probably surmised that Moore is also averaging the most minutes of his career (yup!). He scores more, on average, than Malcolm Brogdon, last season’s Rookie of the Year, and a guy owned in 57% of ESPN fantasy basketball leagues.

There are 14 players in the NBA who are averaging 13.0-13.9 points per game. All of them save one are owned in at least 39% of ESPN leagues. Here’s the list in descending order: Andre Drummond, Jayson Tatum, Jeff Teague, Serge Ibaka, Steven Adams, Clint Capela, Justin Holiday, Robin Lopez, Courtney Lee, Danilo Cincinnatus Gallinari, Enes Kanter, E’Twaun Moore, Brook Lopez, and Thaddeus Young.

Moore is owned in 25.2% of ESPN leagues.

Why?

Moore has been the 86th best player in my fantasy league (which has more stat categories than ESPN basic), and 71st on ESPN basic. He’s been more valuable than Taurean Prince, Eric Gordon, Kelly Oubre, Jr., Jaylen Brown, Serge Ibaka, Andrew Wiggins, and Brandon Ingram, just to name a few. Over the past 30 days Moore and Wiggins, who is 97% owned, have had basically the exact same value.

So, again, why is Moore’s ownership a quarter of Wiggins’s?

Moore averages as many minutes as Steph Curry and, he averages more shots per game than Nicolas Batum (64% ownership) and Andre Drummond (97%). He’s shooting 53.6% on 10.2 field goal attempts per game. Here is the list of players who are shooting 50+% from the field on at least 10 attempts per game:

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo (20 FGA, 54.4%)
  • LeBron James (18.7, 57%)
  • Kevin Durant (18.5, 52.6%)
  • Anthony Davis (16.2, 56.9%)
  • Klay Thompson (16.2, 50.5%)
  • Nikola Vucevic (14.9, 50.3%)
  • Karl-Anthony Towns (14.5, 52.6%)
  • Ben Simmons (14.3, 50.6%)
  • Zach Randolph (12.6, 51.2%)
  • Otto Porter, Jr. (11.7, 50%)
  • Nikola Jokic (11.5, 50.8%)
  • Robin Lopez (11.5, 52.5%)
  • Dwight Howard (11, 54.5%)
  • Hassan Whiteside (10.7, 58.1%)
  • Serge Ibaka (10.6, 51.1%)
  • Al Horford (10.6, 53.7%)
  • E’Twaun Moore (10.2, 53.6%)
  • Andre Drummond (10.1, 53.1%)

That’s 18 players in the entire league. And, because it’s a list of volume AND efficiency, it’s also a list of some of the best (fantasy) players in the entire league. (*Nikola Mirotic also qualifies but he’s only played in 5 games, so I’m not including him. But, heads up.) Moore is the least owned at 25% (RoLo is at 45%). Outside of the Lopez Brothers, that list is of elites.

So, again, why isn’t E’Twaun considered E’Lite? (No regrets.)

He has a 63.1 True Shooting percentage on the season. Out of players who have played in at least 20 games and average at least 20 minutes per game, that 63.1% is 16th best in the NBA (Kevin Durant’s TS% is 63.3). Using the same qualifiers (20+ games played, 20+ minutes per game), Moore is FOURTH IN THE ENTIRE NBA in 3PT% (at least two 3PA per game). Here’s the top five:

  1. Jayson Tatum, 3.1 3PA, 51 3PT%
  2. George Hill, 2.8 3PA, 47.9%
  3. Tony Snell, 3.6 3PA, 47.6%
  4. E’Twaun Moore, 4 3PA, 47.5%
  5. Klay Thompson, 7.3 3PA, 47.4%

Out of those five, Moore has the best overall field goal percentage at 53.6%.

So, what gives, man? Moore is valuable and he’s good. His defense is strangely crappy at home (in fact, he seems to be better on the road, overall), but that shouldn’t matter in fantasy. He is literally less owned than Justin Holiday, and Justin Holiday literally sucks ducks in trucks for bucks (he does not literally do this; no one does). More people own Jahlil Okafor. More people own Danilo Gallinari, and he’s more fantasy than player IRL (right now Il Gallo is out, shocker, with a hurt butt; his fantasy owners know the feeling). More people own Nic Batum, Markieff Morris, De’Aaron Fox, Greg Monroe, Gorgeous Gorgui Dieng, and Elfrid Payton, and NONE of those guys have a positive player rating in my league.

In my humble opinion, this is Petty Peli Prejudice. People don’t own E’Twaun Moore because people don’t watch New Orleans play basketball and they don’t know who the hell E’Lite E’Twaun is. Everyone knows Boogie Cousins and Anthony Davis and Rajon Rondo, even Jrue Holiday, but then there are just a buncha dudes on Nawlins that you had no idea (still) played: Jameer Nelson, Dante Cunningham, Tony Allen, Ian Clark, Cheik Diallo. The Pelicans are currently in the 7th seed in the West and they’re .500 at 15-15. They lost to Sacramento in overtime (nigh unforgivable), and to Orlando when the Magic were the fake best team in the NBA earlier this season. They’ve lost to Golden State THREE TIMES (they only play them one more time). Had they beaten the worthless Sacs, they’d be 16-14 with the third most points per game in the Western Conference (110.8, good for 5th overall in the NBA).

To put it simply: E’Lite E’Twaun plays for a playoff team that scores with the best of them; he’s a top 100 player AT LEAST, who pairs volume with efficiency; and, he’s 28 years old, so he’s right in the midst of his prime. He scored 36 points against Houston the other night (and, made 6 threes). He’s made AT LEAST 4 three-pointers in 7 of his last 11 games.

Here are his stat lines in fantasy terms:

Season: 13.2 PPG, 2.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1 steal, 1.9 3PM, 53.6 FG%

Last 30 days: 14.8 PPG, 2.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 0.8 steals, 2.5 3PM, 56.5 FG%

Last 15 days: 17.7 PPG, 4 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 0.9 steals, 3.0 3PM, 58 FG%

You tell me, is that a player who’s getting better?

Or, think about it this way: in 2016-17 Lou Williams averaged 17.5 PPG, 2.5 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 2.0 3PM, 43 FG%. He’s owned in 85% of leagues.

E’Twaun Moore is good. If he’s available in your league, I strongly encourage you to pick him up.