Title: Raptors’ camp hopeful Eric Moreland embracing the fight to stay in the NBA
Date: September 27, 2018
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic, I wrote about Raptors camp hopeful Eric Moreland, an analytics juggernaut on defense who nevertheless has to continue fighting for a foothold in the NBA.
Up and down the Toronto Raptors roster, there are stories of players who were slept on, overlooked, and had to grind their way to where they are. It’s been a rallying cry and culture-builder, a lineup built of players who had to bet on themselves, to steal a phrase. There is no shortage of success stories, and as training camp begins in Vancouver, Eric Moreland is looking to become the latest.
Moreland’s story is not an unfamiliar one around the Raptors’ locker room. Undrafted out of Oregon State in 2014, Moreland found his way onto the Sacramento Kings’ Summer League roster and eventually played his way into a contract. A tear of his left labrum cut his rookie season short at three games, and after briefly being waived and then re-signed, he once again cracked the Kings’ roster. Again, injury struck, as he missed two months due to foot surgery, capping his sophomore campaign at eight games.
The injuries and stop-and-start development will prove relatable on his new team. So, too, will the fact that he had to spent 2016-17 in the G League to try to re-establish a hold in the NBA. There, Moreland earned All-G League Third Team and All-G League Defensive Team honors, putting up big numbers and catching the attention of several NBA teams. On the surface, it seemed Moreland was about to make it; in reality, his fourth professional season was just one long, extended audition.