New Orleans Pelicans: E’Twaun Moore is thriving as a starter

E’Twaun Moore has made the most of his opportunity this season as a starter for the New Orleans Pelicans. His shooting will be one of the keys on how the Pelicans progress in the Western Conference this year.

For the New Orleans Pelicans, battling for the standings in the Western Conference was exactly what they were hoping for as of this moment. With a record of 14-14, this team still has a long way to go in improving its position as the season wanes on.

One player in particular has definitely been a bright spot for the Pelicans, and his name is E’Twaun Moore. The Pelicans have reaped the rewards of inserting an occasional role player into a prominent starting position in these past 28 games.

The sixth year man out of Purdue University is having a career year in his second year with New Orleans. Averaging 13.3 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game has transformed E’Twaun Moore as a viable weapon in the Pelicans’ offense. All-Stars like Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins will always attract opposing defenses and so far, Moore has made them pay.

His insertion into the starting lineup at the beginning of the season was considered to be temporary because Rajon Rondo was injured for a number of weeks. That specific move was clearly one of the best coaching decisions Alvin Gentry has made so far in his three-year tenure with the team.

Shooting

What made E’Twaun Moore a prominent fixture in the starting lineup is his outside shooting. Not only is he shooting 53.7 percent from the field, but he’s also shooting 47.3 percent from behind the arc on 4.0 attempts per game.

Those consistent numbers are what made Gentry move E’Twaun Moore to the small forward position after inserting Rajon Rondo back in the starting lineup. Dante Cunningham essentially lost his starting spot to Moore because of his ability to stretch the floor for the rest of his teammates.

He’s been a clear favorite of DeMarcus Cousins, who has assisted 36 of Moore’s field goal makes, and also Jrue Holiday and Rajon Rondo, with 24 assists apiece. A lot of his shot attempts could be traced all across the 3-point line, but they include inside the paint as well. His constant movement has notched him easy scoring opportunities, which he has capitalized on during most of his tenure in the starting lineup.

To be frank, the New Orleans Pelicans and Alvin Gentry had an idea of how well Moore would jell in their offensive schemes, but his surprising performances have surpassed even their wildest imaginations.

Career high

For instance, take his performance against the Houston Rockets on Monday night. Moore scored a career-high 36 points to go with three rebounds and three assists. What was even more astounding was that he was 75 percent from the field and the 3-point line, which is literally what you would see in an NBA video game.

Both Moore and Jrue Holiday had to pick up the production since Anthony Davis was out for that contest. The New Orleans Pelicans had a perfect opportunity to pull away late in the game, but the Rockets were just too much at the end of the game.

E’Twaun Moore’s performance is an indicator that he can play just as a bigger role than the Pelicans envisioned since the start of the season. He did earn the starting job at the small forward spot by edging out Dante Cunningham, and he could also do the same when Solomon Hill comes back later on in the season.

The question is though, can E’Twaun Moore maintain his hot shooting streak as a starter?