E'Twaun Moore Must Play Point Guard for Boston Celtics to Ensure Long NBA Career

Oliver Thomas@OliverBThomasContributor IJanuary 20, 2012

E'Twaun Moore can shoot, but can he play point guard?
E'Twaun Moore can shoot, but can he play point guard?Chris Graythen/Getty Images

E'Twaun Moore has shown glimpses of why he was the Boston Celtics' 55th overall selection in the 2011 NBA draft.

Moore, a 6'4" guard out of Purdue, played sparingly in his first several games as a pro. However, Rajon Rondo's wrist injury will give the undersized shooting guard an opportunity to showcase his playmaking abilities not only as a shooter but as a point guard. In his most extended playing time to date, Moore scored seven points while adding two rebounds, three assists and two steals in 20 minutes versus the Indiana Pacers.

If Moore wants to take advantage of his extended minutes in lieu of Rondo's absence, he will have to prove to Doc Rivers that he can also play point guard. Moore isn't blessed with great size and faces a physical challenge guarding taller shooters. Yet he has continued to prove his doubters wrong throughout his career.

In college, Moore was a true competitor, leading the Boilermakers to two consecutive 25-win seasons and three NCAA tournament victories. When Purdue lost one of their leaders in Robbie Hummel with a knee injury last year, critics believed that their season was over. But E'Twaun stepped up and grabbed the keys to the offense.

Moore was of average size for a shooting guard in college, but in the NBA, the average off-guard is around 6'6" or 6'7". In order to have a long and successful NBA career, Moore needs to make the transition to the point.

In an interview prior to being drafted, Moore stated why he could play at the next level.

"I understand the X's and O's of the game," said Moore. "I know how to set other people up – being smart definitely adds to the game."

Without knowing it, No. 55 explained how basketball IQ will help him become an NBA point guard. Moore was excellent at running pick-and-roll sets in college. His utilization of isolation plays opened up his teammates while also gaining separation for his shots.

With the Celtics, Moore is accompanied by Avery Bradley and Keyon Dooling on the bench. The logjam behind Ray Allen at the 2-guard slot will force Moore to play more point guard. Bradley and Dooling are capable of playing the point, but that is not where their specialty lies.

This Thursday, Moore told the media about his goals moving forward.

"I hope I make a few shots the next couple games," he said. "But just playing point guard, trying to get everyone involved and getting the ball to the right spots and just trying to play well." 

Longevity in the NBA revolves around versatility. If E'Twaun Moore can show the coaching staff that he can run the offense at point guard, then his NBA career will take off, regardless of his size.