Moon earning praise

MIKE GANTER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:06 AM ET

MEMPHIS -- Eight games into his NBA career Raptors forward Jamario Moon is making himself indispensable, but there's nothing he can do about his resume.

He can't change the fact that he's a 27-year-old undrafted free agent that no NBA team thought worthy of anything beyond a tryout up until a few months ago.

He can't change the fact that he spent the better part of his adult life moving from one minor league basketball outpost to another.

It's the type of resume that can pigeon hole a player and often does. The kind of resume that says it's too late for the NBA. That ship has sailed.

Fortunately for Moon, he found an organization where the resume doesn't matter that much. The tandem of general manager Bryan Colangelo and head coach Sam Mitchell prefer to base their evaluations on what they see in the here and now, and what they're seeing right now has Moon getting the kind of starter's minutes most teams reserve for established players.

Despite proving himself on the court night in and night out since he joined the starting rotation six games ago, head coach Sam Mitchell is hearing from people who are wondering if he has gone off the deep end giving a so-called "nobody" that much playing time.

Over six starts (he came off the bench his first two appearances) he is averaging 30:50 with 9.5 points and 6.7 rebounds.

To Mitchell's credit, he couldn't care less what people are saying. He knows what he's seeing.

"His development has been amazing," Mitchell said. "Does he make mistakes? Sure, but the mistakes he makes are help-side defence and mistakes of that nature that all young players make. What he does is whoever we put him on hasn't had a big night against him and we've put him on the best perimeter player every night."

And while he's not filling the basket at will at the other end, Mitchell is convinced that's not far off either.

"We still think he's going to be a little bit better scorer than he is," Mitchell said.

RAPID PROGRESS

Moon's rapid progress has wowed even Mitchell.

"I never imagined having to play a guy who is undrafted, never been to a training camp, free agent 30 minutes a game," Mitchell said.

"People are questioning have I lost my mind but what I would say to them is 'When did your name dictate how much you play?' I always thought how you played dictates how much you played.

"If we're going to go back and say this guy went to this school and he got drafted at this spot, he should play, well, I'm sorry.

"That's not how we believe things should be done. We know the world is not fair but we are going to play the guys that do the things they are supposed to do, that give us the best chance to win and that are producing and he's been producing. He's earned it."

On more than one occasion this year Mitchell has admitted a soft spot for the long shot rookie who has come out of no where.

"I ride him hard and I would never tell him, but I love the kid," he said.

And really, what's not to love?


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