Moon's rocket ride

FRANK ZICARELLI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 2:34 PM ET

Jamario Moon will reach a milestone moment tonight, but he has no plans to commemorate it.

Heck, he wasn't even aware of it until the media broached the subject.

By starting against the Milwaukee Bucks, Moon will break Damon Stoudamire's rookie record for starts and has started to make believers out of doubters.

A journeyman who went undrafted and generally overlooked by basketball's establishment, Moon has established himself at the game's highest level.

It could be argued that Moon's skill-set is best suited to coming off the bench on a team with more incumbent starters, but on a Raptors team that is short on defence, energy and shot blocking, Moon fits the bill.

FOCUSED ON THE TEAM

Even as he gets ready for his 71st start, Moon is more concerned with his team's plight than any individual pursuit.

While honoured to be in the same company as Mighty Mouse and grateful for the opportunity the Raptors have provided him, Moon's focus is on winning, which hasn't happened to the team often in the past month.

And with the post-season set to tip off next weekend, Moon is fully aware of the urgency facing the Raptors.

"I'm just looking forward to us getting on a win streak,'' Moon said yesterday. "To know where I came from and where I'm at, it's just an added bonus to tell my kids.

"But I haven't thought of any rookie record."

For the record, Moon is in a rookie class that includes members who entered the season with considerably more fanfare and expectations.

Kevin Durant is considered a lock to win league rookie honours, but Moon has made a case for selectors to at least consider casting a vote next to his name.

Those members of the media who will choose the NBA's top rookie will be asked to list three names.

Next to Durant, Al Horford and Luis Scola are the most mentioned and most hyped, but Moon's inclusion isn't far-fetched.

Not that Moon will win the award, but he's following a long list of Raptor rookies who have distinguished themselves in their first season.

Stoudamire and Vince Carter each were named the league's top rookie.

Moon ranks second among rookies in rebounds (6.2), third in blocks (1.4) and seventh in points (8.8).

The Raptors don't run many, if any, plays for Moon, who gets looks by moving to the open spot, in transition or by crashing the boards.

He's by far the most athletic player on the Raptors and some of his dunks are highlight-reel material.

The knocks on Moon are that he doesn't attack the basket with any frequency, fails to close out on shooters and can lose his man in transition, deficiencies that can apply to most of his teammates.

He's one defensive rebound from tying Chris Bosh's rookie record (365) and four blocks from tying Bosh for second on the rookie list (102). Marcus Camby holds the record with 130, but Moon has had a 19-game streak of blocking at least one shot in a game, which is tied for the third longest in club history, and a 15-game streak.


Videos

Photos