Orlando Magic 2021 Draft Preview: Moses Moody can reach from the floor to the ceiling

Moses Moody projects as at least a 3-and-D player who could develop into a bit more. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Moses Moody projects as at least a 3-and-D player who could develop into a bit more. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

There is no way we can start talking about NBA Draft and the prospects without talking about the Orlando Magic’s buzzword: Length.

Yes, that is still that unteachable thing that a person either has or does not that can cover up so many flaws.

And so when it comes to Moses Moody, we have to start there. He measures out from floor to ceiling as this photo from his mom three years ago proves:


Yes, Moses Moody has a long wingspan. At least among the players measured at the NBA Draft Combine, Moody had the greatest ratio of wingspan to height, measuring at 6-foot-6 with shoes and a 7-foot-0.75 wingspan. It was the longest wingspan for any guard at the NBA Draft Combine.

Moody checks off those boxes for the magic. He clears that hurdle.

But the reason why Magic fans are so eager to bring him in is because, unlike those other long players the Magic drafted, Moody has the skills to add to his length.

That is partly what happens when a team is drafting in the top-10 in a loaded draft class. But Moody’s wingspan is not merely his ability to reach from the floor to the ceiling. It is the potential he has to reach his ceiling while having a softer cushion of a floor.

Moses Moody presents the Orlando Magic with a prospect who projects as a 3-and-D player with the potential to become a bit more.

Moody seems like the kind of player who could easily fit into a role as needed for his team with his defensive length, scoring ability and shooting ability, or he could become something much more.

Moody has been billed in this Draft as a prototypical 3-and-D player, and it is hard to see him not reaching that at least. And his time at Arkansas showed at least some potential of being a little bit more.

How anyone evaluates Moody might depend on how close to that ceiling they think he can get.

Moody’s numbers at Arkansas were impressive. He averaged 16.8 points per game on 42.7-percent shooting and 35.8-percent shooting from beyond the arc. That equates to a 50.3-percent effective field goal percentage on a 22.3-percent usage rate. His 81.2-percent free-throw shooting would also suggest he could be a better shooter too.

Moody was Arkansas’ top scorer, so he was working a lot on the ball throughout his time on the team, leading them to a 3-seed in the NCAA Tournament. Moody shows a lot of promise as a defender with his physical skill set and shooter because of that.

The question for him is about how he shifts to a more off-the-ball role. But it is also about whether there could be moments where he takes on a larger on-ball presence.

Moody has a super smooth jumper and was a solid spot-up shooter when others were on the ball. With more practice and experience, he absolutely should be able to become a solid floor spacer and shooter.

Arkansas even used him running off screens and he showed good potential as a shooter off cuts and screens. With NBA spacing, he should have even more room to run off screens and keep defenses occupied without the ball.

This is where most see him settling in.

Arkansas Razorbacks Basketball
Arkansas Razorbacks Basketball /

Arkansas Razorbacks Basketball

Moody obviously had the scoring numbers — his season-high was 28 points set four times including against Alabama on the road and in a conference tournament loss to LSU. He showed up in big games.

But there were also some poor performances in the NCAA Tournament when defenses really keyed in on him to slow him down. That is why Moody is in the mid- or late-lottery rather than at the top in that top group trying to knock down the top five.

Moody averaged 13.0 points per game and shot 32.7-percent in the four NCAA Tournament games.

Trying to project Moody more than a 3-and-D type player reveals some of his weaknesses. He is still a bit slight even at 211 pounds and can get jostled around. He does not have the burst or explosion to get past defenders consistently.

It is here where there might be a ceiling. Moody is not a great finisher at the rim and struggled to drive in traffic. He could get a little loose with the ball too, resulting in 1.6 turnovers per game.

Moody though is really good when he gets into a rhythm with one or two-dribble pull-ups. But asking him to get all the to the rim or put on a dribble move beyond that can get tricky for him. Especially when looking at him as an NBA prospect.

Orlando Magic
Orlando Magic /

Orlando Magic

That may not ever be what a team asks of him. And there is enough raw material to work with there that he might one day graduate to being a bit of a secondary playmaker or someone who can create his own shot.

Nobody would expect Moody at this point to become the team’s primary scorer without some massive leaps in his game. Leaps that are frankly a little hard to see — it is just something that a player has or he does not.

What differentiates Moody though is he at least has some success to put those pieces together. It makes Moody something of a safer bet.

He could be someone who simply accepts his role as a 3-and-D shooter or he could be someone who grows into a bigger role — or takes on that role sporadically for big games here and there.

And that circles everything back around to length, of course.

Ultimately, Moody’s success in the NBA will come down to whether he can turn that length into anything defensively. He has all the physical tools to do so.

But as the Magic know, length alone is not a skill. It is a tool in the tool chest.

It takes a lot more discipline and patience to learn how to defend at the NBA level. And that is not something that always translates easily.

Moody had plenty of defensive plays at the college level. And that length came into good use. But he still has a lot to improve on that end too. Like all young players, they get easily sucked in to going for steals or baited on simple moves. That will be something that he has to evolve as his career continues.

Still, the potential remains extremely promising. And if the pieces come together and he brings the right approach, he could be an excellent shooter alongside an excellent defender.

Not everyone needs to become a star. Sometimes a team needs to find high-level role players. Moody seems like he could be that at a minimum.

What are the chances he could be more? They might be lower than normal. But the Magic certainly could use some sure things. And they certainly could use some shooting and two-way players.

If the Magic intend to use the fifth overall pick to draft a future star and someone who might be a home run swing, taking someone like Moody with the eighth pick would feel like a safer bet. At least before diving into the intangibles and who this person is off the court.

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Moody has a floor and has a ceiling. As his wingspan might suggest there is a good chance he can reach both.