Drew Packham
Monday December 10th, 2007

I suppose it's time for me to jump on the Jamario Moon bandwagon.

I better hurry, though; the wagon's gaining steam and doesn't show any signs of slowing.

Moon's rise has quickly become one of the hottest rookie topics this season, behind only Kevin Durant's coming-out party in Seattle and, maybe, Yi Jianlian's transition from China to the NBA. But Moon, 27, has a trump card for both Durant and Yi -- he's paid his dues.

Moon's time spent in the minor leagues has been well-documented -- check out this feature from the Albany Times Union (Moon is a proud alumnus of the CBA's Albany Patroons) -- and his work ethic and rags-to-riches story have made him a fan favorite.

"You know what? All those minor leagues I played in ... it seems like yesterday," the 6-foot-8 forward said. "I played in so many of them for so long. ... I don't want to forget about the minors, but I don't ever want to go back."

If the first month of the season is any indication -- Moon ranks first in steals, second in rebounding and third in minutes among rookies -- he can kiss the minors goodbye ... for good.

(Send comments, complaints or hype for your favorite rookie to Drew Packham at drew.packham@turner.com.)

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