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Houston Rockets Draft Prospects: Arnett Moultrie

Moultrie has size and athleticism; two things the Rockets need

February 29, 2012; Columbia, SC,  USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs forward Arnett Moultrie (23) blocks the shot of South Carolina Gamecocks forward R.J. Slawson (33) in the first half at Colonial-Life Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-US PRESSWIRE
February 29, 2012; Columbia, SC, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs forward Arnett Moultrie (23) blocks the shot of South Carolina Gamecocks forward R.J. Slawson (33) in the first half at Colonial-Life Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-US PRESSWIRE

We continue our look at possible draft targets for the Rockets in the upcoming 2012 NBA draft. So far we've looked at Tyler Zeller, Moe Harkless, Meyers Leonard, and Perry Jones III.

This week, another big man, there just aren't many SG/SF type players that are projected to go in the Rockets range that excite me. Along with the Rockets lack of size in the post, they've also had a problem with their lack of athleticism in the post; Arnett Moultrie gives the Rockets both. Moultrie earlier on in his college career at UTEP was actually more of a tweener forward, but once at Mississippi State he began to focus more on his game at the 4 position. I think he could even play center in the NBA, he's not what you would think as the prototypical 7-1, 260 pound center, but the position has gotten smaller in the NBA in recent years. When you look at most of the All-Star caliber centers around the league, it's obvious that more emphasis is being put on athleticism and the ability to run, and the game is transitioning away from the slow, plodding centers of the 80's and 90's. If the Rockets do decide to draft him, I imagine it would also mean they'd move one or two of their power forwards already on the roster.

Moultrie averaged 16 points, 10 rebounds, and shot 54% last season during his only year at Mississippi State. Scouts rave about his athleticism and his ability to run the court like a guard, his nimble movement in the paint, and the match-up problems he causes. Doesn't have a great back to the basket game, but is very good when facing up with either the 15-foot jumper, or beating his man off the dribble with a quick first step. On the defensive end, he's said to be a willing rebounder and quick enough with his feet to guard small forwards out on the perimeter as well. His weaknesses according to scouts are that he's a little small for the position, needs more work on his jump shot, and his tendency to play too fast at times. NBAdraft.net compares him to Jermaine O'Neal; if they're right, he'd be a steal with the 14th overall pick.

His projections vary, NBAdraft.net has him going at 15th, Draft Express at 23rd, and NBA.com at 19th; he would be better value with the Rockets 2nd pick (16th) or if they decide to trade back.

Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.