After being selected with the 27th overall pick in last year’s NBA draft, Arnett Moultrie spent much of the season on the bench for a struggling Philadelphia 76ers team. Doug Collins tends to avoid playing rookies as much as possible, and the case with Moultrie was no different.
A season that started with so much promise turned into a disaster when the team found out Andrew Bynum would be out for the year. When the 76ers were eliminated from playoff contention, Collins gave the young players a long hard look for the final few games of the year in order to see who could be a contributor next year and beyond.
Guys like Justin Holiday and Charles Jenkins did not do much with their chance to play, but Moultrie stepped up in a big way. He started to show flashes as to why he was a first-round pick that the 76ers coveted from the beginning.
In the final five games for the Sixers, Moultrie averaged 23.4 minutes per game. With extended time on the court, Moultrie did a lot with it. He averaged 9.4 points and 7.0 rebounds while shooting a ridiculous 68.8 percent from the floor. In the season finale against the Indiana Pacers, Moultrie recorded his first career double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Even though it was a small sample size, Moultrie went a long way in proving his efficiency numbers are not a fluke. His 16.73 PER and his per 36 minute averages of 11.6 points and 9.6 rebounds are very good. With the final five games, he proved that those numbers could extrapolate over serious minutes. Moultrie did a great job of taking advantage of his chance to play down the stretch.
With that, Moultrie should earn a spot in next year’s rotation based on his play alone. He is an excellent offensive rebounder (5.0 per 36 minutes) who can run the floor, and he is a super athletic big who plays above the rim and can finish at a high percentage.
With a roster that is pretty much a mystery outside of Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes, Moultrie is exactly the type of player who can produce. In the right system, he can come in as your backup big man and provide energy, rebounding and a presence at the rim.
With this being something the 76ers lacked all season, it was refreshing to see Moultrie play well in a season with so many disappointments. Hopefully for this rookie, it can transition into consistent playing time next year.