Sonny Weems has been a man possessed for the last week. It began with his clutch, game-winning three-pointer in Orlando, and continued through stops in Miami, Washington and Philadelphia, then a home date against the Rockets.
Over his last five games, beginning in Orlando, Weems has averaged 16.6 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 32 minutes as a starter. The Raptors have gone 3-2 during that stretch.
Earlier this season and towards the end of last season, Weems was becoming a little too Jamario-esque for my liking, forcing shots he shouldn’t even have been dreaming of.
In the last five games, his jump-shot has been falling, but Sonny has also attacked the basket and overall, has done a nice job of mixing it up. He is shooting 56.9 percent in the last week, including 6-of-12 from beyond the arc.
And if you think that I should look beyond this small five-game sample, as Scott pointed out yesterday, Weems has the highest field goal percentage of any guard in the NBA who takes at least 10 field goal attempts per game.
Of course, writing a post about Sonny Weems without mentioning his hustle and effort on the defensive end would be unjust. The man rarely takes possessions off, at either end.
I don’t intend for this blog to turn fair-weather fans into Sonny-lovers, but I can admit that the man they now call “Money” has slowly won me over. There was a time I thought it was a joke to include him in the “Young Gunz” (sorry, Mr. Stern) movement, or think about him as a key piece in the Raptors’ future.
Now, I think supporters could make a strong case for Sonny Weems as a future star. I’m not ready to go that far myself, just yet, because there are other factors to take into consideration.
On a team with so little star power, someone has to score. That could be one knock on Sonny’s growing numbers, but his high field goal percentage dispels that. The real knock on Weems right now is that he is in a contract year.
If he continues to play at the level he has been playing this season, Sonny Weems will be in line for a big pay raise. A real indication of how high Weems will climb in the NBA will be his level of play after he gets a sizable contract, not how he plays to get that contract.
Right now, the improvement is undeniable. In three seasons in the NBA, he has taken his minutes from less than five per game, to 20 minutes and now 26 minutes per game and a starting role. His points per game have shot up from 1.6 in his rookie season, to 7.5 last season and 14 points per game through 12 games this season.
All this improvement, and Sonny is still just 24 years old, in his third NBA season. The signs seem to point to a young player breaking out. If he continues to progress at this rate, Sonny Weems could be a 20-point-per-game player in his prime, or at least, a key piece of a contending team’s puzzle.
Not bad for a player Bryan Colangelo and the Raptors almost waived when they acquired him in the same trade the brought Amir Johnson from Milwaukee.
So, is Sonny Weems going to be a part of the core that leads a Raptors resurgence over the next few years?
No one can honestly answer that question, but even a cynic would admit that Sonny has at least earned the opportunity to forge his place in the future of this franchise.
It’s up to him and the Raptors’ other youngsters to decide where that future leads.