Note: This piece is the continuation of an ongoing series where Ridiculous Upside examines some undrafted 2017 prospects that fans need to keep an eye on. The first two segments of this series was on former Weber State guard Jeremy Senglin and Badgers alum Bronson Koenig. In the third part, we’ll examine former Utah State forward Jalen Moore.
When the Milwaukee Bucks officially announced the two players that they signed to two-way deals during summer league, the prospect that received the majority of attention was Bronson Koenig. Of course, that wasn’t surprising as Koenig grew up in La Crosse and spent four years as a pretty pivotal member of the Wisconsin Badgers.
The sheer thought of Koenig starting his pro career with a G League squad near his hometown excited everyone from fans to executives of the expansion Wisconsin Herd. Even before he had an opportunity to step on the court, that situation probably made Koenig the face of the franchise.
As most fans attention was zoned in on Koenig, there was another prospect that the Bucks signed to a two-way deal: Jalen Moore. While Moore isn’t as well-known to local fans as Koenig, he definitely stands as an intriguing prospect. During most of his four-year career at Utah State, Moore regularly stood as one of the better prospects in mid-major hoops. That intrigue regarding Moore was due to him being a solid 6’8 forward that can spread the floor while also facilitating.
Those skills were most prevalent during his senior season where he put up 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game on 47% from the field and 42% from beyond the arc on 4.8 perimeter attempts per game. Coinciding with that, Moore maintained a great 59% True Shooting Percentage. Moore’s great long-range shooting actually allowed him to maintain the fifth-most efficient three-point percentage in the Mountain West.
Moore’s fantastic perimeter efficiency is mainly due to great shooting form that’s incredibly smooth to the point where it looks like he’s barely putting any effort when he launches up a shot. That undemanding nature has allowed Moore to be a great weapon whether he’s working catch-and-shoot or off-the-dribble situations.
As a catch-and-shoot threat, Moore seems to be set up before he receives the pass as his hands are positioned by the numbers of his jersey and he’s getting prepared to stand on the balls of his feet. That readiness allows him to quickly get into his shooting motion once he receives the pass, which prevents the opposition from playing help defense. The work of the opposing squad gets even harder due to how Moore has a quick shooting motion where he finishes with a high release point.
Although not as prevalent as his work as a catch-and-shoot threat, Moore has shown some ability to create his own shot. While he doesn’t posses the best handles in the world, Moore is still able to get the open room necessary to shoot by either utilizing an off-ball screen or doing a small pump fake. Both of those tactics are shown off in the play below where Moore shakes off the Air Force guard before hitting the jumper.
His ability to utilize off-ball screens has also allowed him to be a solid mid-range option, as he can work around that blocker to get an open look from inside the perimeter. While not having the flashiest handles, Moore occasionally employs spin moves or step-backs to create the separation to hit a jumper. Those moves allowed Moore to shoot 40% on jumpers from inside the perimeter, according to Hoop-Math.
The last portion of Moore’s offensive arsenal is seen through his work as an on-ball slasher. Unfortunately, Moore tends to struggle in this area as he’s neither quick or a great ball-handler, which really hinders his ability to work his way from the perimeter to paint. In the occurrences where he can work his way past the perimeter defender and make his way to the paint, he seems to prefer finishing with a floater rather than at the rim with a dunk or layup.
Although Moore stood as a solid scoring threat that averaged 16.6 points with a 59% True Shooting Percentage, most of his potential as a pro comes through his work as a distributor. Despite being positioned as a small or power forward, there were a lot of times where he brought the ball up the court and worked as the team’s main facilitator. That knack is evident by him averaging 2.7 assists per game, which is the highest average among frontcourt players in the Mountain West.
Moore’s facilitating comes whether he’s working in transition or in half-court sets as he seems to know where his teammates are at all times. That’s most evident when he’s working in transition as Moore does a great job of being able to find his teammates while he’s running his way down the court. After he finds his teammate, Moore can throw a quick bounce or chest pass that allows his man to quickly score from around the rim. The same thing can be said about his work in the half-court as he’s able to cut into the paint and dish it out to an open teammate, whether they’re a cutting big or teammate that’s working on the perimeter.
As is the case for most prospects that get signed to two-way deals, Jalen Moore stands as an intriguing prospect that’s also pretty flawed. The intrigue comes with him being a 6’8 forward that shines as a great perimeter shooter that can also work as a facilitator. In the modern-day NBA where positionless basketball is the new normal, a player with Moore’s skills is something that most squads would salivate over. Alongside those intriguing skills, you also have to recognize that Moore rarely can drive to the paint as he lacks the quickness or handles to work around his perimeter defender on a consistent basis.
Luckily for Moore, he’ll have an opportunity to fix those flaws with the Wisconsin Herd as he’ll be spending most of his time in the G League. As a member of the Herd, Moore will have an ample amount of opportunities to improve his handles or just become quicker as he’ll likely be the team’s top scoring option alongside Bronson Koenig. Will he be able to fix those flaws and work his way onto the Bucks roster? Possibly. We’ll have to wait and see when the 2017-18 G League season starts in a little more than three months.