Career Stats: 140 GP, 20.3 MPG, 7.7 PPG, 47.4 FG%, 24.1 3PT%, 71.7 FT%, 2.5 RPG, 1.5 APG
Season Stats: 59 GP, 23.9 MPG, 9.2 PPG, 44.4 FG%, 27.9 3PT%, 76.6 FT%, 2.6 RPG, 1.8 APG
Last season, when fans were getting excited about an unknown Sonny Weems, I warned that he could become the next Jamario Moon. Translation, he could be a nice surprise for one season, but he’ll probably start jacking up too many jumpers and forgot what got him here in the first place.
Then Weems got off to a decent start to the 2010-2011 season, drilled a big game-winning three in Orlando and got hot. I let my guard down, as did most Raptors supporters, and actually believed Sonny had played himself into a piece of the Raptors’ future.
How quickly things changed. Weems started to play awful, selfish basketball, then moved in and out of the lineup with injuries. I still thought his play could be saved with a benching or two and a warning, but with Jay Triano at the helm, Weems continued to get his usual gift-wrapped minutes.
A lack of accountability this season seemed to hurt Weems more than any other player (let’s go a post without bringing up Andrea). His selfish ways became habitual, and by the end of the season, one of the Raptors’ potential building blocks had played himself out of the opportunity that he had originally earned.
I’ve written a few blogs on Weems over the last year, so I’m not going to waste much more time on the Arkansas product. I’ll leave it at this: He made the most of an opportunity and earned playing time for a solid season, then blew his opportunity with selfish play. I don’t care how cheap he comes or how close he is with DeMar DeRozan, Sonny Weems does not deserve to be a part of this rebuild.
Shrewd decisions are going to have to be made during this process, and this is one of them.
Scott Carefoot’s take on Sonny Weems: As much as many Raptors fans like to dump on Andrea Bargnani, the problem with Andrea wasn’t so much that he fell off this season as he didn’t improve on his weaknesses. Sonny Weems, on the other hand, fell off to an extent that he cost himself millions of dollars on his next NBA contract. Sonny’s Hoopdata numbers don’t really back up the perception that he settled for more jumpers this season — 59.3 percent of his field goal attempts came from 10 feet or beyond this season compared to 60 percent in 2009-10 — but the problem was that he didn’t convert them with the same efficiency in 2010-11. I think Weems can make it as a ninth or 10th man in this league, but a lack of basketball IQ is probably going to prevent him from ever becoming more than that.
Career Stats: 231 GP, 13.2 MPG, 3.9 PPG, 49.9 FG%, 26.2 3PT%, 58.4 FT%, 2.3 RPG, 0.8 APG
Season Stats: 52 GP, 14.7 MPG, 3.6 PPG, 51.2 FG%, 20 3PT%, 51.2 FT%, 2.3 RPG, 1.1 APG
Julian Wright is the type of player that most teams would like at the end of their bench. He knows his role and usually sticks to it, plus he’s the kind of guy you can give minutes to when you’re trying to send a higher profile player a message on the bench. In the midst of a 60-loss season, Wright should have been given ample playing time, but for whatever reason, it just didn’t work out that way.
It’s hard to find many complaints with Julian’s game. Sure, he’s not a very good shooter, but he usually makes the right decisions on offence and plays within himself, so his field goal percentage is still going to be around 50 per cent. In addition, he’s an impressive passer for his size and position, and usually looks to share the ball rather than chuck it up himself (unlike the other player evaluated in this post).
On top of that smart offensive game is an above-average NBA defender who always seems locked in on his own end of the floor. For a team that was often laughable on the glass (without Reggie Evans), Wright was one of the few Raptors who actually tried to collect a rebound before running up the floor. To keep a long story short, Julian Wright may not be anything close to a star player, but he sure as heck plays the game the right way.
Despite all of these positive attributes, and despite the fact that the team had a huge hole at the small forward position for most of the season, Wright still wasn’t given much time. Then, of course, came the infamous incident in Orlando, when Wright reportedly refused to check into the ball game in a Magic blowout.
I’ll be honest. I flat out liked Julian’s game and called for him to get extra minutes all season long. In a miserable season, before James Johnson showed up, what did Triano and the Raps really have to lose? I can understand why Julian, one of the few Raptors who put in an honest effort on the defensive end, would be frustrated and fed up with the fact that it took a humiliating blowout for Triano to call his name. But that does not excuse his actions on that Friday night in Florida, and for those actions, Julian should not be forgiven.
You’re a professional athlete whose job is to be ready to play, no matter the situation. You earn millions of dollars to play basketball, and regardless of how hard you played in a lost season up to that point, by refusing to go in because you were frustrated or insulted or whatever the case was, is still a travesty. It’s a slap in the face to your teammates, to those in the D-League, Europe or any lower level ballers who would give anything for a job in the NBA, and a slap in the face to the paying customers.
So yes, I like what Julian Wright brings to the table off of the bench, and he seems like a good enough guy outside of this isolated incident. But for me, refusing to go in (unless you’re injured) is like a deadly sin for a professional athlete, and so I’ll understand when Wright is not back next season.
Scott Carefoot’s take on Julian Wright: Four seasons into Julian Wright’s career, we’ve really seen no progression in his game. He’s a good passer for his position and a disruptive defender, but he can’t shoot worth a damn and it seems like he might be more interested in his off-court hobbies than his basketball career. I get the sense that this is just a job for him, and that might have as much to do with why Triano didn’t use him much as anything else. He’s an NBA-caliber player, without question. But if you sign him this off-season, don’t let the fact that he’s still just 24 years old trick you into expecting him to improve. Once he gets the security of that next contract, I’ll be very surprised if he puts in the work to become a more well-rounded baller.
After a month of posts and 15 player reviews, the 2010-2011 Toronto Raptors player evaluations have come to an end. If you missed any of them, here’s my quick summary of who I’d keep and who I’d say good riddance to from the past season.
I don’t think anyone on this roster is untouchable, but I do believe that DeMar DeRozan and Ed Davis should be the closest things to it. You can build something with those two youngsters going forward.
Jerryd Bayless, Amir Johnson and James Johnson are players that I would like to keep around for the rebuild, but that I could understand parting ways with.
I believe it is finally time to part ways with Jose Calderon and Andrea Bargnani, though I might be able to bear one more season with Andrea if someone can light a fire under his butt.
Leandro Barbosa, Joey Dorsey and Julian Wright are all players I think can make an impact in different situations, but again, I’m not putting any stock in their futures with the Raptors. All three could be gone tomorrow and I would probably be able to get way with not even blogging about their departures.
Reggie Evans is probably going to be too expensive and too injury-plagued to be worth more than Joey Dorsey, so I don’t really see a point in bringing him back, unless you play the “leadership” card.
We didn’t see enough of Solomon Alabi to make any educated predictions on his future, but I’d be willing to bet there isn’t much there.
That leaves Sonny Weems, Linas Kleiza and Alexis Ajinca in the “good riddance” category, which means I don’t have to waste another word on them, and the Raptors shouldn’t waste another game on them, though it will be tough to rid themselves of Kleiza’s contract.
So there you have it. Now let’s focus on the draft.