A "throw in". That's what most Raptors fans thought Sonny Weems was in this past summer's Bucks-Raptors trade. Roko Ukic/Carlos Delfino for Amir Johnson and "some dude named Sonny Weems". He was the guy who we've never heard of and someone who we thought would rot at the end of the bench with Marcus Banks. Now, after just three preseason games, he's already made an impression with the Toronto Raptors. Hell, he even has his own highlight reel.
I asked Jon at NBA D-League blog, Ridiculous Upside, about Sonny Weems' game when he played for the Colorado 14ers last season:
"Weems is really athletic, and while he's primarily a scorer he can do a little bit of everything. He's a good rebounder for a shooting guard, he's a decent defender, and during last year's D-League finals he took over some of the ball-distribution duties when Colorado's point guards struggled. The one area of his game that could improve is his three-point shooting. He usually came off the bench for the Colorado 14ers, but I think that was due to the coach not wanting to disrupt the team too much with Weems coming and going from the Nuggets, and the fact that Colorado's roster was loaded. He definitely has NBA-level skills and I know the Nuggets were pretty pleased with the progress he made last season, so I'm a little surprised they traded him."
Head Coach Jay Triano likes him. According to Holly MacKenzie's article on The Score, Triano thinks Sonny Weems possesses one element that the Raps were missing from last year:
"Athleticism. We knew we were getting rid of two guys and we knew we were going to get two guys that brought us athleticism at the wing and at that forward spot. We felt like we needed that. We knew he was a slashing type player who could get to the basket and score, he's picked up on our defensive stuff well and we've just got to keep working on him. He's super quick going to the basket. Transition, he's got a decent midrange shot and just finds a way to score."
The shooting guard position was one of the biggest weaknesses with the Raptors last season, and even though it still may be a weakest of the starting five positions this year, the Raps have depth with the likes of Weems and Antoine Wright on the bench. The young, athletic Sonny Weems has been showcasing his skills during this preseason, getting minutes when Wright and Turkoglu have been sitting. If he continues to make progress into the season he could be considered the steal of this trade. Some compare him to Joey Graham (in terms of play and looks) or to Jamario Moon (another athletic high flyer). But either way, he is still a young talent with the potential of cracking the rotation if he continues to shine into the regular season.
Some facts about Sonny Weems:
- NBA.com has him at 23 years of age, 6 ft 6 inches at 203 lbs
- Drafted in last year's draft in the second round to the Chicago Bulls
- He won the national slam dunk title while at Arkansas, he helped lead the Colorado 14ers to the NBDL finals last season and oh yeah.....he wrestled against the Legion of Doom during last season's WWE-Denver Nuggets debacle