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Eric Moreland Eyeing An Opportunity To Make His Way Back To The NBA

Former NBA player turned D-League All-Star Eric Moreland is looking for his chance to make his way back to the NBA .

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Like a multitude of players before him, Eric Moreland has spent a good portion of his career fighting the injury bug.

Those struggles really started from the moment that he first stepped foot at Oregon State. In an early December matchup against Colorado, Moreland dislocated his left shoulder. That shoulder injury put a premature end to his freshman season, after Moreland only played a little more than three games.

Luckily, Moreland was eventually able to recover to become one of the best big men in the Pac-12. During his three-year stint with the team, Moreland was able to average 7.2 points, 10.3 rebounds, 1.4 assists and a very impressive 2.1 blocks per game on 53.5% from the field. Those numbers allowed Moreland to be Oregon State’s all-time leader in blocked shots, and blocked shot average as well as fifth all-time in rebounds and sixth in rebounding average at Oregon State.

That outstanding college career led Moreland to declare for the 2014 NBA Draft. Unfortunately, Moreland never heard his name called on draft night. After going undrafted, Moreland joined the Sacramento Kings for the 2014 NBA Summer League. In six Summer League games, Moreland put up 3.5 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.7 blocks in 19 minutes per game. That performance was enough for the Kings to sign him to a multi-year deal.

Despite technically being part of the Kings roster, Moreland saw more time in the D-League rather than the NBA during his rookie season. In that rookie season, Moreland played seven games with the Reno Bighorns, compared to the three games that he spent with the Kings.

After going up and down between the NBA and the D-League, Moreland received devastating news. In an eerily similar way to his freshman season, Moreland’s season came to an immature end due to a labral tear in his left shoulder.

For Moreland it was another setback that he had to overcome. His recovery began during the 2015 NBA Summer League, where he would average 6.4 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2 blocks in 20.8 minutes per game. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough as Moreland was waived by the Kings shortly after Summer League. Fortunately, Moreland would later re-sign by the Kings to participate in training camp.

Moreland made the Kings roster out of training camp and once again was bouncing back and forth between Reno and Sacramento. Unfortunately, Moreland’s battles with that damn injury bug came back when it looked like he had an opportunity to truly get a solid role with the Kings.

That injury came on December 16th, however this time it wasn’t his shoulder. Moreland sustained a fracture of the fifth metatarsal in his left foot, where it was revealed he did it in practice. After undergoing foot surgery 5 days later, Moreland was ruled out for 8 weeks.

Moreland returned to the D-League on assignment on March 19, 2016, where he spent all of March in the D-League getting up to game shape and then was recalled by the Kings on April 1. Moreland in his 2nd NBA season played in 8 games averaging 6 minutes, while he averaged 1.0 points per game, 1.4 rebounds and 0.5 blocks per game. It wasn’t enough and the Kings didn’t re-sign the 6’10 big.

After the Kings didn’t re-sign him, an opportunity came up to head to training camp with the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers, where he signed on September 26, 2016.

Unfortunately for Moreland, when things are going right, an injury usually takes place. This time, he had a set-back with his foot and was ruled by team doctors that he couldn’t participate in training camp. With that, the Cavaliers waived Moreland, and without catching on elsewhere in the NBA, Moreland went to the D-League to play for the Canton Charge.

Moreland is a 6’10” Power Forward/Centre who is very versatile and athletic for his height, and is a contributor on both ends of the floor. As defensively, Moreland is an excellent shot blocker, as already this season has the Charge record for most blocks in a game with seven. As well in the D-League, Moreland has shown the ability to guard the pick and roll very effectively, adding to his all-around game. Along with the pick and roll, guards rarely go to the rim against Moreland because more times than not it is getting blocked. It shows with Moreland averaging a ridiculous 2.2 blocks per game.

He will also recognize went to help out his guards on the weak-side or staying put in the post waiting for the block. Which ever one he chooses, he has shown the ability to contribute on the defensive end of the floor. Moreland also uses his length to his advantage as he often disrupts the opposing players with his long arms that can poke the ball loose easily. That being shown with Moreland averaging 1.6 steals per game.

Offensively, Moreland is a huge threat for opposing teams. As he can post up, put the ball on the floor and drive or take a mid range jumper. As well Moreland is adding a three point shot to his game in the D-League just adding to his weapons he can use on offence. This season, Moreland have put all of that to use as he is averaging 13.5 points, 11.6 rebounds (3.1 offensive rebounds), while shooting 56.7% from the field and 33.3% from three.

The only knock on Moreland is his passing ability, which he has improved on throughout the season, but still needs more work. As Moreland is averaging 2.8 assists per game, and more of a raw passer. However the passes he does make are nifty, as he can pass to his guards who are cutting or open to shoot, Moreland will give them the look.

Moreland has risen through the D-League prospect rankings with much reason. With Andrew Bogut going down in Cleveland, maybe they take the chance on Moreland to work as their backup center. No matter what happens over the next month, Eric Moreland has showcased that he’s definitely ready to make his way back to the NBA. Hopefully this time, that move will be permanent.