AL HAMNIK: Magic's Moore quite 'reserved' in his role

2014-04-14T19:30:00Z 2014-04-30T20:58:08Z AL HAMNIK: Magic's Moore quite 'reserved' in his roleAl Hamnik Times Columnist nwitimes.com
April 14, 2014 7:30 pm  • 

CHICAGO | E'Twaun Moore was an Indiana All-Star, the first player in 20 years to lead Purdue in both scoring and assists, and originally a second-round pick of the Boston Celtics.

He quickly became a reserve.

The East Chicago Central legend, a worn-out sports label that he truly is deserving of, was signed by the Orlando Magic on Sept. 6, 2012.

He quickly became a reserve, again.

Is that Moore's destiny in the NBA? To be a bench jockey, a high-energy guy off the pines? I asked Magic coach Jacque Vaughn before Monday's game with the Bulls.

"I'm not going to define his role, define his life that way," said Vaughn, a big fan of No. 55.

"He continues to work on his game and has been good in the role he's played for us -- coming off the bench and being a versatile guy, knocking down shots, having different defensive responsibilities on a given night.

"In that role, he's been pretty good."

The 6-foot-4, 190-pound Moore quickly learned the talent level in the NBA is through the roof compared to the top college basketball factories, so there was no need to sheepishly knock on Vaughn's door and question his playing time.

"I think it's an immediate understanding (of the talent here) and how good you have to be to sustain a level of longevity in this league," Vaughn said.

"He's headed in the right direction."

Team players are like that.

"My first couple of games, I was like: 'Damn! Everybody's good.' They let you know you've got to be on top of your game every night," Moore said.

The third-year guard certainly has had his moments, averaging 6.2 points with season highs of 17 points twice, five assists and 34 minutes.

You want SportsCenter tape? Against Brooklyn on April 9, Moore was 6 of 6 from the floor and 5 of 5 from 3-point range.

Like they say in the commercials, ball don't lie.

"I just like to play basketball," said Moore, grateful to be wearing an NBA uniform. "If it means coming off the bench or no matter what the role is, as long as I get to play is the most important thing to me."

Orlando came to the United Center with the league's third-worst record at 23-57 and had used 22 different starting lineups -- fifth most in the NBA. Moore has made three starts.

Given his basketball pedigree, could he handle being a career reserve?

"If I had to," Moore said. "Of course, who doesn't want to start as a pro and be the best they can be? But if I have to come into a game and knock down some shots or whatever, I'm ready. Those guys can make a quick impact.

"You just have to be ready to go out there and produce. I'm playing, so that's a good sign."

The folks back home, naturally, think their local hero should be playing more, shooting more. He just laughs it off.

"Even if it's LeBron (James), people tell him he should do more," Moore chuckled. "You can't really pay attention to it."

The Magic's dressing room was quiet and uneventful 75 minutes before tip-off, with few media present. As E'Twaun Moore approached his locker, where I was standing, teammate Doron Lamb quipped: "They're waiting for you."

Maybe one day, there will be a crowd.

It would be fitting.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at al.hamnik@nwi.com

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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