Thursday, November 29, 2007

Could ROY really be a possibility?

Now I have been reluctant to check out the various rankings has during the season because it is just so damn early. The top 30 teams, the race to the MVP and the rookie rankings are all going to change as the season wears on. But, today I took a quick glance at the rookie ranking and boy was I ever surprised to see who number 2 was. .

And here is the thing, remember how everyone talked about how great of a rookie class 2007 was? That the draft was the deepest in years? Sure Oden not playing is a huge blow, but still, JAMARIO MOON IS RANKED SECOND??!? That’s crazy talk!

But really though, no rookie at all has really caught my attention at this point. Nor should they since it’s the end of November. Last year’s ROY was currently injured at this point of the season. Still, it’s tempting to consider if Moon has a legit chance at ROY when April rolls around? I never thought of it before hand, partially because I have a hard time considering a 27 year old who has played ball in various developmental leagues a true “rookie”. Same with Juan Carlos Navarro. Sure these guys are rookies to the NBA, but it’s not the same as being drafted out of college. Some of these guys, like Jorge Garbajosa last year, are well seasoned players.

And that fact alone actually gives Moon a HUGE advantage here. The fact that he has composure in the game that most rookies don’t have due to age and experience differences. Let’s be honest, Moon has that starting SF position locked up. Did he have some crazy stat line last night? No. But nether did Mike Miller and that was who Moon was responsible for. Moon is the starting SF now and I think it’s safe to say he will be at that position for the entire run. So, he is a starter and is he is contributing to this team, if not for the points then for the boards/steals/blocks. And we hear from Mitchell, and saw vs Chicago, that Moon does have an offensive game that they are bring in slowly, which is wise. Now, let’s assume that the Raps are ready to make a run up the standings here. Currently they are sitting in 6th spot and while they have a very tough schedule in December, just like last year in January, this team should be in a decent position to shoot for a top 4 record in the east. So here is Moon, in the starting lineup and a contributor to a (potential) top 4 team.

Kevin Durant might have a nice future, and he might be shooting a bit better then he did a few weeks ago, but he is also playing on the team that should end up winning the 2008 draft lottery. So what’s more impressive? Contributing to a winner or a loser? Sure this is the Chuck Swirtsky argument on why Bargnani was the ROY over Roy, but I think there is a solid difference between the Bargnani/Roy thing and this Moon/Durant thing.. Bargnani didn’t get more then 30 minutes a game last year like Moon is right now, and Bargnani was contributing, but mostly in the 3’s department. Moon is giving a bit of everything during a longer span in the game. On top of that, while Durant might end up the better player long term, Brandon Roy did have a fantastic season last year on a team that was stronger then this Seattle squad. So let me say that, while I agree with Chuck in that a producer on a good team should be considered more favorably then a producer on a bad team, Moon is much closer to the level of contribution that Durant brings then when comparing Bargnani to Roy.

But again…it’s early.

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