Mo wants to be an all-star

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:24 AM ET

The buzz this year around the Raptors has centred on all-star Chris Bosh, new point guard T.J. Ford and first overall pick Andrea Bargnani.

But the longest serving Raptor, swingman Morris Peterson, hopes to create a buzz of his own, by making the all-star team.

"I think it's possible," Peterson said last night. "I just have to keep working to help the team get better. If we start winning, who knows what will happen."

Peterson, 29, set career bests last season in almost every department, including points (16.6), minutes (38.2), and rebounds (4.7). He admitted that it is a tough challenge, given that his main responsibility some nights is guarding the other team's best player.

"When you think about all-stars you look at the guys who give you spectacular dunks every night and sometimes the guy who comes and punches in every day gets overlooked," he said. "But it's just a matter of me going out there, playing hard and taking advantage of opportunities. When I get out there and play everyday, I put it in my mind that I'm an all-star."

ROOKIE RUMBLINGS

While Bargnani has certainly received plenty of publicity, another rookie at the Continental Airlines Arena last night, New Jersey guard Marcus Williams has quietly established himself as an early rookie-of-the-year candidate, based on his play in the pre-season. The Connecticut guard was once considered a top-five pick months before the draft, but for whatever reason, his stock dropped dramatically and the Nets were able to snatch him up with the 22nd pick.

So far, the selection seems to be an inspired choice, as Williams averaged 16.0 points (first amongst rookies), 2.7 rebounds and 7.0 assists (sixth in the NBA) during the pre-season.

Bargnani, meanwhile, averaged 9.6 points and 3.7 rebounds in seven games.

With his appearance last night, Williams became the third youngest Net in team history, at 20 years and 333 days.

AROUND THE RIM

How's this for respect. The Raptors coaching staff were thrown out of a room next to their locker room yesterday so the anthem singer could have her space.


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