Sixth in a nine-part series analyzing our top NBA draft choices for the Dallas Mavericks at No. 17 on June 28. We will look at one prospect a day leading up to the draft. ESPN.com Insider Chad Ford and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's and Mavs play-by-play man Chuck Cooperstein provide the inside goods. The order is alphabetical.
Bigs coming out of college are often described as "raw" or "developing." But after sitting out the 2010-11 season to fulfill transfer rules, Arnett Moultrie's third year (and first at Mississippi State after two seasons at UTEP) certainly helped to propel this maturing big.
Averaging a double-double in the SEC is no small feat -- only he and Kentucky's Anthony Davis did so -- and was something Moultrie didn't come close to doing in Conference USA with UTEP (9.8 ppg and 6.7 rpg in 2009-10).
The Memphis, Tenn., product might be the most polished big on the board. It's not hard to see him claiming a spot in the Mavs' rotation behind Dirk Nowitzki and even playing some center alongside Nowitzki.
With the Mavs' cloudy situation at the backup 4 and the 5, acquiring ready-to-play size is going to be paramount for Dallas this offseason.
Here's a look at our next draft prospect:
School: Mississippi State (3 years including two at UTEP)
2011-12 stats: 16.4 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 54.9% FG
Why he would fit: Moultrie, and not Kentucky's Davis, led the SEC in rebounding this season, and crashing the boards might be the single-biggest need the Mavs have (small forward Shawn Marion led them this season) with Nowitzki's rebounding on the decline and Brendan Haywood possibly out of the picture.
Why he wouldn't fit: The Rockets, who have picks Nos. 14 and 16 and are desperate for size, could nab Moultrie first. Also, he's not a shot-blocker (0.8 per game last season) and the Mavs need rim protection now much more than another scoring threat.
Chad Ford's thumbs up, thumbs down: Up -- Long, athletic big man. ... Explosive leaper. ... Runs the floor well. ... Unusually quick for a big man. ... Can play both inside and outside. ... Good rebounder, especially on the offensive end. Down -- Spends too much time on the perimeter. ... Needs to add strength. ... Poor free throw shooter.
Coop's comment: The comparison you always hear is to P.J. Brown, who played 15 years in the NBA as a very fine defender and rebounder. Not a star by any stretch, but a player that every contending team has to have. Like almost everyone else in the draft, he needs to get stronger.