Making The Case For J.J. Moore As Sixth Man

J.J. Moore will contribute wherever he's at next season (Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE)

With news that Trey Zeigler is eligible for this coming season, potential starting lineups are already being floated out there.

We're pretty sure that Zeigler and Tray Woodall will be starting in the backcourt. Lamar Patterson earned a spot in the starting lineup with the way he progressed last year and if Steven Adams doesn't start right away at center, it's virtually understood that he will pretty quickly.

The way I see it, Pitt can either start Talib Zanna at power forward or go with a smaller lineup and start Patterson there alongside J.J. Moore at small forward.

My vote, though, goes to starting Zanna and bringing Moore off the bench.

Few would argue that Moore can be a better player than Zanna and if Patterson didn't have a big season last year, Moore would be starting at small forward. But I'd bring him off the bench for a few reasons.

For one, there are bound to be nights when Pitt needs a spark off the bench offensively. Moore is better suited in that role and can really give Pitt a lift when they need it.

I also like Zanna in the starting spot because of his rebounding. Adams is expected to be a big-time rebounder and while I don't have any reason to think that can't happen, I like the idea of giving him some help to start games off.

The biggest reason, though, that Zanna should perhaps start is that he should be capable of filling the role. He improved last year and with another season under his belt, I think he has the talent to contribute as a starter. Zanna stepped up in the CBI (I swear, I'm going to do my best to mention that tournament as little as possible this season) averaging 12 points and seven rebounds a game, up from his season averages of about five points and rebounds per contest. His regular season was pretty inconsistent, but I'd give him a chance to start the season and see if he can put it all together.

The other thing to remember is that it's not necessarily who starts, but who gets quality minutes. Even if Moore doesn't start, he can still play about 20 minutes a game. There will be plenty of time for him to make an impact, even as the sixth man.

Jamie Dixon will have a better idea of what the starting lineup should look like after camp in the fall, but at first glance, I'd lean towards bringing Moore off the bench.

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