What's Unique About Mavs & Arnett Moultrie
Arnett Moultrie is listed as a power forward/center, but entering the Scouting Combine, Dallas Mavericks officials told me they envisioned him at the 4 – and they scoffed at the idea that because of Dirk Nowitzki, the roster doesn't need another power forward. In fact, of course, GM Donnie Nelson (and assistant GM Keith Grant, too) believe in what I call "BAA'' … "Best Available Athlete.'' That is, the best player, regardless of position. Furthermore, Dallas DOES have a need behind Dirk. Unless you think Lamar Odom ain't walkin' through that AAC door. ... because the door is padlocked in such a way that he cannot get through.
Let's bullet-point Arnett Moultrie:
*In college at Mississippi State, he was a combo forward. He was a very capable back-to-the-basket guy – maybe because he is so much bigger and stronger than many opponents. Last year as a senior, the once "raw'' player developed even more offensively and some think he has enough of a perimeter game that he might become a "stretch 4'' in the NBA.
*He guarded 5's, 4's and 3's, too. So he's fairly polished defensively (though not considered a shot-blocker). And he's a two-way player: Moultrie was dominant in the SEC last year, ranking second in the conference in scoring (16.4 points per game) and first in rebounding (10.5 per). In addition, he shot 54.9 percent from the floor and 78 percent from the line.
*He seems more ready to contribute now (especially as a rebounder) than some of the other bigs Dallas has brought into the AAC for workouts, including Fab Melo and Meyers Leonard. Those guys are younger, less mature, less certain -- projects. If a team hits on him – and many mock draft projections have him being available in the range of the Mavs' slot at 17 -- Moultrie might be ready now. Oh, and it's not just savvy. He's an athlete, with a 33.5-inch vertical leap that ranked him high at the combine.
*We know how much the Mavs like "comfortability'' and character and such. Meyers Leonard's agent is Jeff Schwartz, who also reps Kidd and Deron. Tunesian center Salah Mejri, who is not draft-eligible but who is on Dallas' radar, is represented by Bouna Ndiaye – who serves as the agent for Roddy B and Ian Mahinmi. Moultrie's agent? It's Dallas-based Derek Lafayette.
*Lafayette, by the way, has talked about his client going in the top 10, and maybe Moultrie will rise that way. But power forward is a deep position this year. There might be five guys at that position who go ahead of him.
And that leads to a final clue:
*In preparation for the June 28 draft, the Mavs are inviting handfuls of prospects into town. The kids come in small clusters, work out against one another and then head to the next NBA city to do the same. Dallas doesn't bother inviting prospects who are way out of their range – "It's not like we're asking Anthony Davis to come in,'' Donnie tells me, referring to the obvious No. 1 pick who is New Orleans-bound. And teams also don't try to bring in every guy, understanding that this is a league-wide cattle call for talent and knowing that there are limits to everyone's schedule.
Still … this week's visit from Arnett Moultrie is unique in one sense: He's the only player I know of who's been involved in not one, but two private sessions with the Mavs.
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