Pittsburgh's JJ Moore (pictured here sans headband) could be headed to the starting line-up, but at an unexpected position (David Butler II-US PRESSWIRE)
JJ Moore and Lamar Patterson were two of Pitt's most productive players down the stretch last season. Both scored in double-figures at least four times in the six-game CBI Tournament. Both earned significant minutes as the season went along. Both players are projected to be major contributors next season. The problem? Both play the same position.
That problem might be solved:
The JJ Moore/PF experiment is for real at Pitt. Panthers toying w using skilled wing as "4"man. Should work if Steven Adams grabs 8-9 RPG.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) July 24, 2012
"Solved" might be too strong of a word, but it's at least one potential solution.
More after the jump.
Obviously, there are some concerns about Moore playing the four. Most notably, is that he's 6'6". Another important point is that until this point in his collegiate career, he hasn't seemed particularly interested in rebounding. Then there's his defense, which wasn't stellar against opposing players in his own height and weight class.
But if you're Dixon, what other options do you have? Dante Taylor never really developed the game necessary to play the Dixon power forward, a position that requires solid passing and a touch of an outside game. Talib Zanna should be solid, but not in a 30-minutes-a-game sort of way. If Pitt goes this small, two things need to happen:
- Steven Adams needs to dominate the paint. This may or may not happen. He's extremely talented, but he's a still a freshman and as such, lacks the experience that might be needed. DeJuan Blair put up 11.6 ppg and 9.1 rpg as a freshman and that was good enough for the All-American Freshman Team. Without a lot of post help from the four, Adams will at least have to replicate that incredible feat.
- Pitt needs to pick up the tempo. This is a sore subject for a lot of Pitt fans, but if Pitt is going to go small and athletic, then Pitt needs to run. There is no Gary McGhee or Aaron Gray to wait for on offense anymore (nor is there their defensive presence in the middle). When Pitt gets a defensive board, they'll need to take advantage of all that athleticism on the floor by pushing up-court. With Woodall, Zeigler, Patterson and Moore in the projected starting lineup, there are four legitimate passers available to outlet the ball to and work on getting two-on-one or three-on-two situations. If Pitt chooses Moore to eat up substantial minutes at power forward, they likely aren't going to get a lot of rebounding from him (2.9 rpg at SF last season), so when they do get a board, it's time to run.
With months to go before the season starts, I suspect these questions will be answered in time. But the big question - "Will JJ Moore wear a headband if he plays at the four?" - goes unanswered until the season.