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Pacers want to see more of Ben Moore, agree to partially guaranteed deal

The undrafted forward out of SMU is having himself quite the week.

NBA: Summer League-Brooklyn Nets at Indiana Pacers Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The Pacers have signed long, athletic forward Ben Moore to a one-year, partially guaranteed deal, reports The Athletic’s Scott Agness.

Moore, who averaged 6.6 points and 2.8 rebounds to go with two steals in five games with Indiana’s Summer League team in Las Vegas, signed a two-way contract in January after making a strong impression ahead of last season’s training camp.

“He’s really impressed everybody in this gym,” Kevin Pritchard said of the undrafted Southern Methodist University product at Media Day. “We think he can be an NBA player. An NBA defender first, and then if he can improve his shooting, he can be a Bruce Bowen-type.”

At 6-foot-8, Moore was one of only ten players in the G League last season to tally at least 100 offensive rebounds and 40 steals, a testament to the nose he has for the ball — whether crashing and leaping over his teammates seated on the bench to avoid losing a possession, or sacrificing his body to convert a clutch putback.

Moore also worked on his shot, knocking down 35 percent of his attempts from three (1.3 per game) with the Mad Ants after going 1-of-5 over his four years in college.

As such, and given that versatile, wing defense is in short supply on Indiana’s roster heading into training camp, granting the 23-year-old aggressor with the still-developing jump shot another once-over, even if only to boost competition, makes sense.

The kicker, however, will be confirmation of the dollar amount on his partial guarantee. By league rule, if Moore earns more than $50K with Indiana at training camp and gets waived, he would not be able to play for the Mad Ants during the 2018-19 season. Since the Pacers would lose the option to assign him to Fort Wayne if he doesn’t make the 15-man roster, earning guarantees in excess of that figure would likely be a reliable predictor of his chances to stick around.

Last season, prior to when they converted the two-way contract of Alex Poythress into a guaranteed deal when the 45 days he could spend with an NBA franchise were set to expire, the Pacers opted to leave the final roster spot open for flexibility. Indiana then waived veteran mentor Damien Wilkins for similar purposes before adding Trevor Booker.

In addition to the Pacers, Moore will also have the opportunity to prove himself with USA Basketball, as he was announced as one of 14 players set to vie for a spot on the 12-man World Cup Qualifying Team that will compete in second-round games against Uruguay (Sept. 14) and Panama (Sept. 17).