From overtime hero to “Captain Zero,” the next step in the career of Wendell Moore Jr. will be as a professional player in 2022-23.
With the 26th overall pick of the 2022 NBA draft, the 6-foot-5 forward was selected by the Dallas Mavericks and traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves for a package including the 29th overall pick, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski first reported Thursday night. The junior was a standout on a loaded Duke roster this winter, leading the team in assists and captaining the team to its first Final Four appearance since 2015.
Prior to his declaration in April, there was some speculation as to whether the Charlotte native would stay another year to usher in the Jon Scheyer era of Blue Devil basketball. Evidently, his choice to gamble on the big leagues paid off, as the Timberwolves will be landing a versatile and athletic player coming fresh off of a deep tournament run and his best statistical season in blue and white.
Though not as physical a presence as fellow Duke draft picks Paolo Banchero and Mark Williams, Moore’s defensive acumen and improved shooting will make him an asset to his new professional teammates. Add in Julius Erving Award recognition for the nation’s best small forward and three years under college basketball's winningest coach, and Moore’s NBA stock continues to grow.
Crucially, he’s proven his ability under the brightest lights he’s been offered so far. A 20-point performance against Gonzaga and a career-high 26-point game against Syracuse in the ACC tournament headline an impressive three years, but among Duke fans, however, nothing is likely to ever surpass his buzzer-beater to down North Carolina on the road in February 2020.
Prior to Thursday, Moore was projected as a late first-round or early second-round pick, and that’s exactly where he wound up. He joins a Minnesota outfit that made the playoffs last season.
Moore is the fourth former Blue Devil to be selected Thursday, with the Orlando Magic taking Banchero with the first overall pick, the Charlotte Hornets taking Williams at No. 15 and the Atlanta Hawks selecting AJ Griffin one pick later.
READ MORE on Moore's path to Minnesota:
This is a developing story. Check back here for more updates.
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Andrew Long is a Trinity sophomore and Blue Zone editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.