Philadelphia 76ers Must Play Rookie Arnett Moultrie
The Philadelphia 76ers may be the ninth seed in the Eastern Conference, but for all purposes, their season is lost. With that being said, head coach Doug Collins must give power forward Arnett Moultrie more playing time.
Philadelphia is currently 23-35 and seven games behind the Milwaukee Bucks for the final playoff spot in the East. Considering the Bucks are tearing it up right now with a four-game win streak and clearly determined to make a run at a higher seed, the 76ers must consider giving their younger players a chance to showcase their talents.
Moultrie is one player in particular that has shown plenty of promise, as he has been very productive in limited action, but has yet to see his minutes grow. The rookie out of Mississippi State is averaging just 2.6 points, 2.1 rebounds and 8.2 minutes per game, while shooting 55.1 percent from the field.
However, on three separate occasions this season where Moultrie has played at least 19 minutes, he averaged 8.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.6 rebounds per game, while converting 63.2 percent of his field goal attempts.
In fact, in four straight games from Feb. 6 to Feb. 13 Moultrie averaged 7.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 20.0 minutes per game while shooting 59 percent from the floor. Three of the four opponents are playoff contenders, and two of them have a superior interior defense. After this remarkable stretch, Collins decided to play the 22-year old a total of 20 minutes over the next five games.
Considering Philadelphia does not have a true power forward, and ranks toward the bottom of the league in rebounds per game (41.5), and is 29thin the NBA in points per game (91.9), one would think the 76ers could use someone such as Moultrie to give the team a much needed boost in a critical area on the court.
At this point, there is no legitimate reason not to give Moultrie significant minutes from here on out. He clearly understands the game of basketball and has the proper skill set to get the job done. What he was able to do in a minimum amount of playing time is remarkable. If Collins had any sense, he would play Moultrie immediately and more than just eight minutes per game.