Sonny Weems

Words you probably wouldn’t have expected to hear from a Sixers fan before last night: “Man, we really could have used Sammy Dalembert in that game.”

Philly had nobody who could effectively cover Andrea Bargnani in a game where his switch was clearly in the “on” position — Spencer Hawes is too slow and Elton Brand is too short. And so Bargnani scored a season-high 30 points on 12-for-18 shooting while actually trying to rebound and grabbing seven boards in the process.

This was probably Bargnani’s best game so far this season, but it has to be said that he should drop 30 with ease on a team like this. Performances like this are not a revelation for diehard Raptors fans who have been following his career with exasperation. If anything, a display like last night’s is more of a frustrating reminder of what he could be capable of if he could consistently keep his head in the game.

This sequence late in the third quarter was when I realized that Bargnani could very well carry the team on his back to victory. First, he buries a turnaround jumper against overmatched Thaddeus Young. On the other end, he switches on a pick-and-roll to prevent an easy layup by Jrue Holiday and then jumps between two Sixers to grab a rebound, holding the ball high and swinging his elbows around like a Reggie.

With under two minutes to go in the fourth quarter, the Sixers had the ball and were behind by a point — it was still anyone’s game. After Holiday misses a floated and the rebound gets tapped out to the arc, DeMar DeRozan grabs the ball and is off to the races with Sonny Weems. DeRozan was a non-entity last night from a scoring perspective with just four points, but he finished with a career-high five assists (he hadn’t dropped more than three dimes in any of his 88 career games) and his last one really counted as he dished to Weems at just the right moment for an easy layup to increase their lead to three points.

On the subject of Weems, it’s getting tougher for doubters to continue to proclaim his recent emergence as a fluke. With his career-high 25 points last night on 10-for-18 shooting, he’s averaging 17 points on 59 percent shooting over his last six games — and he’s scored in double figures and made over 50 percent of his shots in all six games. Coming out of a time out with 49 seconds on the clock and the Raptors up by three, it appears that Jay Triano drew up this play for Weems which resulted in a trip to the free throw line. Could it be that the Raptors have a guy to trust the ball with in late-game situations, after all?

Finally, since I ripped Reggie Evans yesterday for his tendency to gamble unwisely on defence, it’s only fair that I give him dap today for this game-clinching steal on the Sixers’ subsequent possession.

A win over the Sixers is certainly nothing to get overly excited about, but they did it on the road on the second of back-to-back games and even the sourest cynic among Raptors fans has to feel a glimmer of hope about the emerging mini-stardom of “Money” Weems. Remember how he was an throw-in along with the trade that sent Carlos Delfino and Roko-Leni Ukic to Milwaukee for Amir Johnson? Could Weems prove to be the best player of the lot? It’s too early to tell, but my fantasy team “Roko-Leni Picture Show” is benefiting greatly from Sonny’s scoring surge.

Comments (5)

  1. I remember it was about January last year that I watched Weems and realized how skilled he is and how he really does have all the tools to be a solid player. Having a mid range game today, as he does, can give you a huge advantage since so few players seem to have it. It will be very interesting to see where his ceiling is.

    I’m glad you included the clip of DeRozan’s pass to Weems because I thought that was an incredibly important example of why DeRozan has more potential than some give him credit for. A lesser player, who felt he was expected to score and wasn’t doing it, probably would have forced the shot. DeRozan made the right play at an important time. It’s one reason why he’s looking better and better as a player you want on the floor in crunch time.

    Bargnani did have a good game, but he’s pretty much got to score 30 points in order to make up for his atrocious defense, which was still on display last night.

  2. What jumped out at me while watching the first clip was that it’s a perfect example of why bargnani is a bad rebounder. When the shot went up, bargs didn’t even glance down to see who he could box out or who was in the vicinity, nor did he extend his arms outward to feel contact from surrounding players in order to move into good position, his eyes just tracked the ball from release into his hands. You just can’t do that in the NBA, not as a 5.

  3. Nine New Faces: You’re not wrong, but I’m just happy Bargnani at least made an effort to go for the ball, which he often doesn’t do.

  4. How weird, Tim W.
    Bargs makes thirty, and he’s still a shit. Derozan gives a dime, and he’s the usual hero!
    Definetely, Bargs doesn’t fit your taste.
    You like it younger (Demar) or stronger (Weems).

  5. I think its about time that we just except Bargs for what he is. A highly skilled big man who can score at will but can’t rebound very well. Since he has been here thats all we hear about. Alot of teams in this league value him alot more than Raptor fans do.. Does everyone still want Brandon Roy since he has no knees left and is playing bone on bone. I would say his career is already on the down side. Come on people get off Bargs is back and accept the good things of his game. He is a defensive nightmare for the apposing team.

    Im not sure why alot of people still think this team has some sort of potential and are supprised when teams like Washington beat us. How are we better than them?? ” Its good we beat Philly cause we were expected to beat them” Who expects us to beat them. I am not suprised getting beaten by anyone this season. All Im looking for is the guys that might be part of this teams future get better and so far its looking good. not always gonna be there but you can see there is alot of talent with some of these guys. :)

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