SECAUCUS, NJ, Nov. 14, 2007 -- I figured Raptors rookie Jamario Moon would have a coming-out party at some point this year, I just didn't think it would be this early.
After seeing the 6-8, 205 pound forward put on an impromptu dunk-a-thon during layup lines while covering the Raptors game against the Celtics in Rome during Europe Live last month, a couple things were clear to me at the time:
A) This guy should be in the All-Star Slam Dunk Contest B) Nothing against Andrea Bargnani, but I'm looking at the most exciting rook north of the border since he-who-must-not-be-named C) When I do eventually give him love in the Rookie Rankings, I'm going to make like a Denny's menu author and title the column "Moon Over My Rankings" in his honor
In the last six years Moon has gone from Meridian Community College in Mississippi, to an undrafted hard luck story on Draft night, to learning the game and his basketball alphabet in the CBA, NBADL, LNBP and USBL, to his 27th birthday in June, to signing a two-year deal with the Raptors in July, to racking up four DNPs in Toronto's first four games, to playing in all three of Toronto's last three games and even starting one, to being second to Al Horford amongst all rookies in rebounds per game average.
He has the chance to keep the Moon name in the spotlight, following in the grand tradition of Frank Sinatra's "Fly me to the...", Neil Armstrong's flag plant, Michael Jackson's walk, Warren's arm and Andy Kaufman's movie.
After scoring nine points and grabbing eight rebounds (four offensive) off the bench to help the Raptors edge the Sixers on November 9, Moon was awarded the start at small forward the very next day against Chicago. He produced again with 12 points, six rebounds, three steals and a block.
Michael Grange of the Toronto Globe and Mailreported yesterday that a recent practice Sam Mitchell walked by his elderly rookie as he was being interviewed by a group of reporters and quipped, "Moon, make sure this isn't just your 15 minutes."
I doubt that should be a problem for Moon. When you spend six years traveling to get somewhere, you tend to stay a while.
Last Week: 1
Kevin Durant can probably relate to Kirk Cameron, after the growing pains he experienced this past week. For as good as his first four games were, his last four were pretty brutal. Since last week's Rookie Rankings, Durant has shot 21-for-71 and the Sonics' record has dipped to 0-8. That being said, he is still the only rookie in this year's class faced with the challenge of putting a whole franchise on his back from Day 1, and that, combined with his sheer scoring, keeps him in the top spot. For now.
Last Week: 2
You know there's something special about a guy who performs his best on the biggest stage. With over 200,000,000 people watching last Friday (do not adjust your monitor, that's supposed to be eight zeros), Yi had the best game of his young career, posting 19 points, nine rebounds, two steals and a block against Yao Ming and the Rockets.
Last Week: 3
Big Al only averages 6.3 field goal attempts per game, explaining why his scoring average sits below 10 points per game, but when he got a season-high 12 attempts against Boston, he scored a season-high 16 points. JJ, Josh, Acie, Marvin: Get the big fella the ball more often.
Last Week: 5
In back-to-back games against two teams that made the conference finals last season -- Utah and Detroit -- Green averaged 18 points and six rebounds in 27 minutes per game off the bench. I know it's early, but could Jeff Green be in the running for Sixth Man of the Year as well as Rookie of the Year?
Last Week: 6
With 10 assists in his last two games, Law sacrificed some of his offense to get his teammates involved. That's a good sign for the Hawks because with all their scoring potential on the wings, they're better suited with an Andre Miller type at the point than an Allen Iverson.
Last Week: Unranked
Moon comes in at No. 6, because really, he's only showed what he's capable of in two games so far. Let's see what he does matched up with the similarly talented Andrei Kirilenko tonight.
Last Week: 4
When Cook gets the chance to play, he's shown he can score. The problem is that those chances will probably become few and far between as he's only played in three of Miami's seven games and Dwyane Wade, who plays the same position, is expected back in the lineup very soon. Plus, now he might have to compete with Pat Riley for playing time.
Last Week: 8
You think Kevin Durant had a rough week? Al Thornton's might have been worse. Thornton went 5-for-23 in three games and saw just nine minutes of court time against the Cavs. Then again, the Clippers are a surprising 4-2 overall so maybe he doesn't have it quite so bad.