The Phoenix Suns and Eric Moreland are finalizing a deal, The Athletic has learned.— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) December 10, 2018
No, Eric Moreland is not a point guard, but he does plug one of the other holes that’s been leaking water all season.
The 6’10” 238 lb. Moreland brings some beef for the rebounding-starved Suns, who are 28th in rebounds per game and are equally bad on both ends of the court because of the myriad small-ball lineups with Trevor Ariza, T.J. Warren, Mikal Bridges and Josh Jackson often being the only “bigs” surrounding the Suns lone big man, Deandre Ayton or Richaun Holmes. Maybe with more depth, the Suns will play two bigs at once sometimes.
After an injury-plagued start to his NBA career, Moreland was out of the league in 2016-17, spending the season in the D-League. Things finally went his way with the Canton Charge, where he made the D-League All Star Game, was third team All-NBA D-League, and the NBA D-League All-Defensive Team.
The Pistons brought Moreland in for a look with their Summer League team and liked what they saw. A springy big man who is willing to do the dirty work, play hard, and knows how to rebound and block shots. He averaged 7.6 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 2.8 blocks per game in the Summer League and earned a three year contract for his efforts.
Check out the rest of the review here for video clips and further notes on the new Suns big man, who sounds a lot like Richaun Holmes to me, just with a bit more sand in the bucket.
Here he is with 16 points, 17 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals and 4 blocks last April for the Pistons against the Bulls.
Moreland averaged 4.1 rebounds in 12 minutes per game last year and over his 87 game career he has a rebound rate of 18.7 percent of all available rebounds. That would put him right there with Deandre Ayton and Richaun Holmes in the rebounding category. No one else in the Suns regular rotation even grabs 10 percent of available rebounds*.
*If you figure there are 10 players on the floor at any one time, that’s each player having a 10 percent chance at any one rebound on either end of the court. However, the taller guys who stand closer to the basket should exceed that 10 percent mark while the guards should be under 10 percent. The problem for the Suns is that no one even pulls their fair share of 10 percent of total rebounds except Holmes and Ayton right now.
Moreland was released by the Pistons after free agency started, though, and only got a cup of coffee in training camp with the Raptors before becoming a free agent again in October at the end of preseason.