Ben Moore recently agreed to a 2-way deal with the San Antonio Spurs after being waived by the Indiana Pacers and briefly playing for their G-League affiliate the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.
Moore immediately showed that he was too good for the G-League in his four games in Fort Wayne this season as he averaged 20 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in just 25 minutes per game while shooting 73.2% from the field. The Spurs quickly pounced on the opportunity to get the forward.
Moore was on the Pacers opening day roster this season after quietly being in some part of the organization all of last season after going undrafted out of SMU where he was coached by Larry Brown. He was waived as the Pacers opted to keep a roster spot open nearly two weeks ago that they’ve yet to use to this point.
He played for the team’s Summer League squad the last two seasons and had a 2-way contract with the Pacers for much of the year in 2017-18 but appeared in just two games for a total of nine minutes without even a shot attempt. It would be easy to miss his involvement with the team over these last two years.
Anyone who has coached Moore has nothing but positive things to say about him. Jeff Van Gundy gushed over his experience with him over the summer with USA Basketball during the ESPN broadcast of the Pacers and Knicks game for earlier this season.
“He’s a straight winner,” Van Gundy said during his endless praise of the forward. “He could be on any team in the NBA.”
After his first game with the Mad Ants this season, the Fort Wayne head coach Steve Gansey saw the writing on the wall with Moore.
“I don’t know how much longer we’ll have Ben, to be honest with you,” Steve Gansey told Justin Cohn of the Journal Gazette. “He’s a great player. He just makes things happen. He can attack. He can go off the bounce. He made a 3 for us tonight. He just does a lot of things and he’s a winner, and you just want winners on the floor. He just makes things happen.”
Moore was always going to be a long-term project. The Spurs are well known for developing this kind of talent and finding diamonds in the rough. The Ringer picked Moore as the sleeper of his draft class with a chance at undrafted success which includes heavy praise from his college coach Brown.
While Moore will likely never be an All Star or something approaching that level, it’s not hard to see him becoming a valuable role player for a long time in the league. His skills have developed considerably since going undrafted after he made over 35% of his 3-pointers with the Mad Ants last season, a big jump for someone whose weakness is considered to be his jump shot, and he’s already a terrific defender and always seems to make hustle and high-basketball-IQ plays.
Who knows? He may never get the opportunity even with the Spurs to show whether he can contribute to a winning team with his trademark energy, and defense, but with how they often find ways to rest players, it seems likely that he’ll find more opportunities for playing time in San Antonio than what he had in Indiana.
The Pacers might have been able to keep him in the Pacers organization if they converted Edmond Sumner’s 2-way deal to an NBA contract to open up the 2-way deal once again for Moore once he had been waived, but it appears the Pacers are in no rush to do so with Sumner as he’s also been playing terrific basketball in Fort Wayne and still has many of the 45 days that his 2-way contract allows to be spent with the NBA team remaining.
Time will tell if the Pacers end up regretting letting Moore get away from them or what they end up doing with that final roster spot they decided to keep open by waiving Moore.