The Toronto Raptors Blog with an Arsenal touch

Crosshair: Jamario Moon

Posted by Arsenalist on May 3, 2008

Since the off-season is slow as molasses and there isn’t a damn thing Raptor-related going on, I thought it good to pick a player and just break him down until we finally decide what we have in him and whether he’s worth keeping on the team.

The reason Jamario Moon played 28 minutes a game and started 78 of them was because we didn’t have anyone better on the roster. The extended playing time he received goes to show our lack of depth at the small forward position. After a seemingly inconsequential summer signing who would’ve thunk that this man would become our best defender and a staple of our starting lineup? Not many. After trading away Morris Peterson, realizing Kapono can’t play the 3 and finding Joey Graham useless, Moon bubbled his way up past Delfino on account of being a better defender.

Jamario Moon’s defense can be very affective. He’s shown that he can use his athleticism to defend his man well, sometimes his defense is too eager to get the block and it gets him in trouble because he’s very liable to fall for a good pump-fake. After starting the season by shutting out a few swings, he ran into trouble when facing the better ones such as Paul Pierce, Lebron James, Caron Butler and such. It should have occurred to him at that point that athleticism alone does not make a good defender, but Jamario Moon is a bit slow when it comes to learning lessons, after all he’s a rookie.

Continuing on with his defense, the best part of his defensive game has to be the help he provides from both the strong and weak side. His jumping ability and reach surprise a lot of offensive players and he ends up getting a block here and an alter there (1.4 BPG). He does a good job of not fouling (except vs. Portland) and averages only 1.9 fouls a game, a great number considering his defense. When Moon plays the passing lanes and is active off-the-ball, the Raptors actually become an average defensive team, he can get deflections and steals (1.2) for you at the expense of late close-outs, something which is a systematic problem with the Raptors and not confined to Moon.

Overall, Jamario Moon’s defense has been great, he’s fallen prey to some bad games where his judgment in playing a player to shoot or drive hasn’t been there and he’s been taken to school in the clutch on a few occasions, but we should cut him slack given he’s a rookie. The fact that he claimed to not read the scouting reports is a sign that he’s still maturing as a player and needs to study the game more if he hopes to replicate his success this year. The scouts will have caught up with him by next year and the ball’s in Moon’s court to improve.

Finally we get to his offense which can best be described by terms such as unreliable, sporadic and inconsistent. Although Moon does possess the quickness and athleticism to drive by a defender who’s playing him relatively tight, he rarely uses it. The times he does use it and gets to the rim it ends up being a low-percentage shot or a pass that should have been a shot. His jumper is very inconsistent and can’t be counted on but that doesn’t stop him from using it. It is because of his offense that him playing 28 minutes a game for a team that hopes to be competitive beyond the first round is unacceptable and worthy of an upgrade.

It’s no secret that Moon’s jumper is whacky and that’s why teams give him ample space which he’s a sucker for. Fans want him to drive but he wants to shoot, it’s probably because 1) he wants to prove that he can shoot the ball so he can get the defense closer and then drive or 2) he doesn’t want to drive. It’s probably a bit of both because when a man is tempting you to shoot, you have to have great patience to pass the ball off and realize that its not what the team wants, so Jamario tries to prove himself but comes up short. On the other hand he’s been guilty of launching the jumper even when the defense is in his grill, so go figure.

His finishing ability is lacking. Unless he has an open dunk, any drive attempt by Moon is rarely a source of a field goal. He can’t absorb contact and finish nor can he alter his shot once he goes up, something which is critically missing for a guy of his physical ability. His refusal to take it to the rim is very unbecoming of a NBA starting small forward and his weak jumper is stuff made for energy guys coming off the bench.

Any time Moon launches any sort of a jumper you can’t help but cringe. He does make a few but it gives him false confidence because in crunch time he’s left wide open by the defense and instead of either passing it up or making the defense pay with a drive, he always falls for the bait. Some of this can be blamed on Sam Mitchell who’s offense/defense substitutions have often gotten Moon into trouble in crunch time offense, a time when Kapono is a far better option to have on the floor. Moon can never be considered a good option to take the jumper because he’s simply not a good enough shooter at 38%.

Half his offseason should consist of practicing the 15-18 footer to the tune of 600 shots a day. The other half should see him develop a low-post move and some finishing ability around the rim. I believe the drive is in him, its a matter of building the confidence in him that he can finish the play or initiate contact and get to the FT line. The most alarming statistic for Jamario Moon is that he only went to the FT line 85 times in 78 games. That’s 1.08 FTAs per game! Unacceptable.

So what do we do with him? He needs to be reevaluated over the summer and unless he’s significantly improved his jumpshot and shown an obvious tendency to attack the rim, he should be demoted to the bench in favor of a trade/FA acquisition who can do what Moon can’t – score. Moon can’t be blamed for our stagnant and choke-in-the-clutch offense but having him on the floor has never been great for the Raptors offense.

If he comes to training camp with the same skill-set as this year, he deserves a 15 minute role off the bench where he can provide energy, spark the defense and run hard on the break. His defense is good, but not nearly good enough to compensate for what he lacks on offense.

If you got to the end of this post, you deserve a prize or two.

How about them Hawks? The chance of a Game 7 victory is unlikely but the point is made – the Hawks are a legit team and the Celtics are vulnerable. The fourth quarter offense was brutal for both teams but the Hawks continued to drive to the rim and got the calls – 47-25 FT in favor of the Hawks. Boston was all perimeter in the final quarter and Ray Allen missed some big shots down the stretch. Go Hawks!

20 Responses to “Crosshair: Jamario Moon”

  1. RapsFan said

    I think Moon is going to be a keeper this year for Colangelo, his defense is valuable to our team considering many of our players being lousy defenders. But he truly is a gem that we are able to discover this year, being an undrafted rookie coming out to play as a starter in the NBA and one of those ‘feel good stories’. Besides, his contract is cheap and is a bargain for a good defender. To put it straight, he EXCEEDED our expectations, despite his shortcomings – and it would be unfair to demand a well-rounded game from him being a ‘rookie’

    His offense is still in question, many times I’ve been irritated of the fact that he does not get to the rim and settles for jumpers considering his physical abilities that enable him to do so.

    But I agree, Moon would be better off as a sparkplug off the bench that provides hustle and energy, assuming that we will target a SF this summer either from the draft, free agency or trade (i.e. Josh Howard, Maggette, or RJ’esque players)

  2. FLUXLAND said

    Fantastic breakdown, Arse. Co sign RapsFan. Like I’ve mentioned before, great rookie year for the “young” man. Now that he’s seen it all and experienced the entire season, including playoffs, one can only hope he spends the summer working on his game (shooting). For now, definitively not a starter, but a great off the bench guy.

    Re: scouting reports. I can kind of understand where is coming from. You want to get a feel for a guy, as opposed to expect to see things only to get burned. He probably makes his own mental files on guys throughout the season. It’s obviously not recommended from a coaching POV, but if it’s what work/worked for him.. so be it. Not sure it will last long however, even he has to realize there are some benefits to preparation. “On the fly” is hardly successful long term.

    RapsFan.. I would die for Maggette to be on this team. Please, no RJ!

  3. FLUXLAND said

    Thanks for the prizes, btw! Niiice!! LOL!

  4. […] – Arsenalist […]

  5. FAQ said

    Moon is a freak .. he doesn’t really fit into the NBA, and he certainly shouldn’t be a starter on any team. Just look at his bio on hoopshype and that will tell you the story about his bball experience and career. If the Raptors must depend on players like Moon, I think the team is a joke. He is a Harlem Globetrotter mentality, and he chokes in the NBA all because he is bball brain-challenged. I doubt he has an adequate attention span to run plays .. he’s just a flash-in-the-pan oddity who the tribal honking fans have taken to heart because he represents their need for a loser to become a winner in their futile minds.

    For a qualified bbball aficionado to attempt to justify Moon’s play is just an admission of failure. I say use the guy as trade filler, and any team that would want him are truly desperate.

  6. cuzzy said

    I will ask this, who made you cringe more when they shot a 3.

    Jamario or Carlos?

    Good idea to keep the blog alive Arsenalist.

    Andrea better keep an eye out for that red dot on his forehead. Arse is on top of the CN Tower.

  7. Raptors2009 said

    Wow FAQ! He’s not a starter but he can help us coming off the bench. I agree we shouldn’t rely on him but he can make plays off the bench and his defense is not bad and will only get better. He’s no starting SF but he’s a JYD type player.

    Arse, “Jamario Moon is a bit slow when it comes to learning lessons”

    Too true, he falls for the same fakes every time. I don’t want to say he’s stupid but his basketball IQ needs to improve.

  8. FAQ said

    #4 Linkage – May 3 — The AltRaps Blog Says:

    […] – Arsenalist […]

    Pardon me for my ignorance, but what does this abrupt symbolism mean??

    “”[…] – Arsenalist […]””

  9. arsenalist said

    I don’t know cuzz, I’d say Jamario although they shoot about the same %age from 3. I think its because Delfino has a slightly better looking shot than Moon, Moon’s got that hitch in his shot that you just know isn’t supposed to be there. I think Delfino would be better than a career 36% shooter if he was more careful with his shot selection. He takes some unnecessarily deep bombs which kill his percentage. As for Moon, it doesn’t matter where and when he shoots from, its just always going to be a low-percentage shot.

    FAQ, way to get our psychological on me – “need for a loser to become a winner in their futile minds.” Hardly my friend, I could care less about Moon’s road to the NBA – notice I didn’t even mention that “heartwarming” story in the post. I do think in limited minutes he can be a contributor to this team in the hustle and rebounding department and can give a bit of a defensive lift off the bench. He’s definitely somebody I’d keep on the team instead of Maceo Baston or Primoz Brezec, come on, you got to give him that despite his dumbass smile and Alabama hickness.

  10. arsenalist said

    FAQ, he’s just linking the post from his blog. Its an automatically generated thing…..

  11. FAQ said

    Raptors2009 Says:

    Wow FAQ! He’s not a starter but he can help us coming off the bench. I agree we shouldn’t rely on him but he can make plays off the bench and his defense is not bad and will only get better. He’s no starting SF but he’s a JYD type player.

    Just look at Moon’s basketball bio on hoopshype and you will see he only played in N America … that’s because he was too stupid to play in Europe. He’s a Harlem Globetrotter freak and Sam shouldn’t have given him the chance to play in the NBA because Moon’s travails reminded Sam of his struggles. Moon has made the Raptors a joke in the minds of NBA players on other teams .. and on the Raptors too since it was an insult to the bench guys like Joey and Baston. It’s no way to build a contending Raptors team.

  12. FLUXLAND said

    WOW! WOW! WOW! FAQ! My man, what’s going on at your house? Seem to be losing composure while quickly falling into the ranks yoyos with mindless one liners!

    “that’s because he was too stupid to play in Europe.” did it ever occur to you that he may have had offers, but simply refused because the believed staying in N.A gives him a better shot at making the NBA (somewhere scouts won’t have to travel), or perhaps that not every NBA guy in Europe simply can develop his skills further as they may be much further along then some of those player. Or that some people just recognize the burden of adapting in a different culture will take away the focus from bball and further hind their development?

    Also, did it ever occur to you that some of the teams he played for may have folded or NEVER payed for his services. Are you seriously going to blast a guy for having to survive and eat? I mean what is he supposed to do.. play for free?

    Mobile Revelers – folded
    Huntsville – had to change cities
    Oklahoma – played for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (yeah they both must be stupid)

    Rockford – Bruce Bowen, Earl Boykins, Mike James (yeah, all jokes)
    Ketntucky – started.. folded.. started

    I could go on and on.

    Not to mention, he must be a CIA agent, since he’s so dumb yet passed all the freaking test the give you in the NBA before they let you sniff the floor.. let alone give you money.

    Don’t hate cuz Jamario made with you perceived limited or non existent skills.. and you didn’t.

    His a guy that has clearly been on the fence on whether he belongs or not, whereas 99% of his team mates on those team, don’t. People were too afraid to take a risk on him or had better options. The Raptors did and he has not disappointed in any way.

    I cannot comprehend where your hate is coming from. And stacking you team with dudes with crazy talent is not the key to success.. ask Dallas and Phoenix. You need guys that are hungry and will never forget how they got here. Frankly some of the dudes on the Raptors need to go a few weeks without getting paid so they can appreciate the game a little more.

  13. FLUXLAND said

    Mario Elie played in Alabany – .. ask the Dream and Duncan or Admiral how insulted they were he was on their teams and what a joke he made of their teams. You are way off base on this, my friend. NOT EVEN CLOSE.

  14. Raps Fan said

    Mario elie was a bad ass. I loved that guy. The raptors news someone in that mold desperately…

  15. Paps said

    He needs more muscle too.

  16. cheerleader said

    wow, next time have an award for women as well…yes, raps have female fans :)
    re: Moon … perhaps his dribble is not strong enough to get to the rim and therefore is not worth the risk of getting injured at least before he gets a real contract …he’s not a starter in any team that made the playoffs this year but he’s worth keeping in the roster and it’s worth another chance because he was one bright spot in a disappointing season

  17. FLUXLAND said

    True dat, Arse! The ladies need love 2, you know?!

  18. FAQ said

    Crosshair: Moon and Flux ….. Did it ever occur to you and the hero-worshiping tribal honkers that Moon has the IQ of a cheerleader when it comes to bball???

    He’s 27 now and has shown little accomplishment in his bball career (compared to Parker), and now he has found a place in the soft and furry hearts and crotches of male and female Rats fans. Of course Moon is beloved .. he emerged from the dank ranks of nothing bball and became an instant hero with his heroic lob-dunks and huge snuffs .. he’s a man of the people … and the people love him to bits. As long as it sells tickets and sucks in viewers with tribal opinions.

    Question Fluz … Why does Moon only finish with a finger roll when he occasionally gets near the basket after trying to dribble through the defence?? Are his elbows stiff and unextendable (if you noticed on his tomahawk dunks) .. or are his hands/wrists strangely articulated and he can’t palm the ball off a dribble???

    What’s the matter with Moon …???!!!

  19. FLUXLAND said

    K.. is there a bball IQ requirement to enter the NBA? Does every player have to have the same one? Can players bring more then just their IQ to the table? What good does it do to you to have the bball IQ of (insert your favorite high bball IQ player) when you don’t have the tools to use them? Is it reasonable to believe his bball IQ can be increased in a much more competitive environment and better tools? Oh no wait.. i know.. no, cuz he is stupid, right?

    Yes… (maybe) true.. what is exactly wrong with that? Also.. Parker fits that description even more then Moon.. no tatoos..looks white.. sure the moms love the “no thug” Mr. Nice Guy.. bring him over for dinner, help the old lady cross the street image! Oh and all that success abroad has really paid dividends here.. please! Wait.. why did he bounce out of the L in the first place? Oh..ok! What team signed him after all that “success”.. oh yeah .. the “joke” Raptors.
    What does this tell us about Parker?

    Umm.. I dunno.. why do I do the same while playing pick up ball..the “occasional” finger roll is not allowed and implies low bball IQ?

    What’s the matter with Moon is that he’s not you and most players don’t fit your “perfect bball player” mold.. so you come out guns blazing without considering what “positives” they bring to the table.. hunger, resilience, team chemistry, positive attitude..etc, etc.

    Not to mention, that according to you.. all fans IQs should be tested prior to entering the building and subsequently banned, if they say “Moon rocks! Go Raps!” after you ask them to explain the finer points and advantage/disadvantages between the Triangle and Princeton offense.

    For someone who preached about how tired he was of frequenting websites with ppl who post mindless one liners, you spend a lot of time insulting fans that are not up to your par, while just stringing one liners or mixing them up with hidden derogatory lines about the franchise, organization and city and NBA basketball. It’s easy to be critical and negative, “bro”.

    It’s really scary to think you coach/ed kids…way to go Mr. Woodcock!

  20. khandor said

    After watching Moon play this season … his future in the NBA will be as a solid ‘spot up shooter’ (which he can and wants to LEARN how to do) who can drive it to the hole on occasion, really rebound & defend; NOT vice versa, which is NOT what he wants to learn to do or is capable of right now).

    Every year that goes by, the shooting guards in the NBA are getting taller, and Moon fits right in with this trend, as long as he has a primary ball-handler like Calderon beside him, he will be fine IF TORONTO CHOOSES TO SHIFT HIM INTO THIS ROLE. If not, he will probably not get much better than he is today, as a 3, since at 27-28 years of age, he is now into his peak years of physical maturity and is going to have trouble becoming much stronger than he is today (which is why, in part, shifting him to the 2-spot makes the most sense).

    Is the Raptors braintrust knowledgable enough about the game to see this for themselves?

    Time will tell … but, from what I’ve seen from them, to this point, it’s highly doubtful.

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