With the 15th pick in the 2012 NBA draft, The Philadelphia 76ers selected Maurice Harkless out of St. John’s University. The Sixers then traded a lottery-protected first round pick for next year’s draft to the Miami Heat for the rights to a guy many thought they should have drafted all along: big man Arnett Moultrie out of Mississippi State.
Moultrie was exactly the kind of role player that was going to help this team get to the postseason — an athletic big man who was an aggressive rebounder and had a knack for getting to the rim and finishing.
Unfortunately for Moultrie, getting drafted by the Sixers meant having Doug Collins as your head coach. Like Evan Turner and Nikola Vucevic before him, Moultrie was forced to the bench. Collins refuses to play rookies, which is part of the reason no one realized how good Vucevic was when they gave him up.
Even with this team at 30-43, Moultrie has barely played. He’s only averaging 10 minutes a game, but his per 36 minute numbers stand at 11.1 points and 9.7 rebounds. His Player Efficiency Rating (PER) stands at 16.2, which would put him seventh among rookies if he had enough minutes to qualify.
It hasn’t been all good for Moultrie this year. He has looked lost at times on defense and has struggled mightily defending the pick-and-roll. But as a rookie, when your team is out of it, you should be given the opportunity to work through your mistakes and learn by playing rather than watching from the sideline.
The Sixers have nothing to lose by playing him and he certainly won’t be any worse than what Lavoy Allen gives them as the backup big off the bench. The lottery-bound Sixers won’t lose the pick in the Moultrie trade this year, but it is time to see if he can be a part of their long-term plans.