If you're not overly familiar with the work of Mississippi State's Arnett Moultrie, you're probably not alone. The 6-foot-11, 200 pound big man might not have the mass appeal of others in this year's draft class but his stock appears to be on the rise. As of today, Moultrie is slated to go No. 25 on DraftExpress' mock draft and Chad Ford of ESPN.com has him pegged at No. 16 to the Rockets. Ford goes a step further, even suggesting that the Pistons could snag him all the way at No. 9 (if they land there after the lottery). So, what is Moultrie all about and why does he have NBA scouts drooling over his upside?
Moultrie lost a season after transferring from UTEP to Mississippi State but showed few, if any, signs of rust in his junior year. The forward/center averaged 16.4 PPG, 10.5 RPG, and anchored the Bulldogs' frontline with just under 36 minutes of play per contest. While there have been plenty of question marks surrounding teammate Renardo Sidney, few scouts have doubted Moultrie's on-court intensity. The center has shown that he has a knack for hunting down the loose ball and a strong desire to win the one-on-one battles on the offensive glass.
Moultrie's post-game looked to be adequate at the college level but he'll have to build on his repertoire significantly at the next level. He's also shown that he can knock down mid-range shots in stretches, but he'll have to turn that into a go-to weapon with time. The big man loves to rely on the two-handed slam to finish off a play, as evidenced by his 55% field goal percentage, but he'll obviously need more ways to score.
The junior has also made strides in his defensive game but his lanky frame is likely to take a beating in the Association if he doesn't add on some weight. Until he grows into his 6'11" frame, his future team would be best served by grooming him to play the power forward position. He has the speed to get up and down the floor in a hurry and could do some serious damage in a fast-paced offense. It wouldn't be surprising to see a team that's high on Moultrie trade up to the early teens to nab the 21-year-old if he escapes the top ten.