Brothersteve's Blog: Sonny Weems, the Joey Graham look-a-like
Old 09-21-2009, 06:14 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Brothersteve's Blog: Sonny Weems, the Joey Graham look-a-like

As has already been mentioned by some very observant fans, Sonny Weems looks a lot like Joey Graham. So much so that at the recent Season Seat Holder Block Party, fans actually mistook Weems for the still popular Graham! I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not?

Sonny Weems, the high flying senior from Arkansas is probably best known from the U-Tube video clips of him winning the college slam dunk contest. He definitely does have some hops and can flush the ball with authority. But as everyone knows, that’s just not enough to make it in the NBA.

So let’s take a closer look at this newest Raptor prospect. Listed everywhere at 6’ 6” and 203 lbs, it seems that when he arrived last year for the NBA pre-draft camp measurements he was only 6’ 4” without shoes and weighed in at 193 lbs. However, he did measure an impressive 6’ 10” wingspan and had an 8’ 8” standing reach. So Sonny Weems can play bigger than his height.

Sonny does test out very well athletically. First off, Weems is in terrific shape. Only 4.4% body fat and the ability to do 12 bench press reps indicates he’s in better shape than most of his draft class hopefuls. And in lane agility and ¾ court sprints, Sonny was about 10% faster than average.

As with all of the “high flyers” coming into the draft process, one needs to remember that only the best kids even show up to for pre-draft camp measurements.

The average shooting guard hopeful has a no step vertical of 29.7” and a maximum vertical of 35”. Sonny Weems has the height of an average shooting guard, a no step vertical of 29” and a max vertical of 36.5” giving him the about same hops as many shooting guards. Fortunately for Sonny, he’s much better at using those hops to do damage than your typical draft hopeful.

And how does our look-a-like compare to the real Joey Graham. As every Raptor fan knows Joey is quite the physical specimen. Joey had hops too. A 30” no step and a 36” maximum vertical puts these two at about equal. Joey was a little quicker through the lane agility test but a little slower in the sprint. But Joey was a beast on the weights, putting up 26 repetitions to Sonny’s 12! Okay, Joey beats almost everyone at that.

The really big difference between them was Joey being 1.25” taller and 24 lbs heavier when he came to pre-draft camp. So maybe Sonny is more like Stephen Graham, Joey’s less muscular twin? But it’s the scouting report weaknesses that make Sonny seem even more like our familiar Joey.

It has been suggested that Sonny turns the ball over too much, needs to improve his court sense, has trouble creating for himself, and needs to work on his handle and his passing. Now that reminds one of our Joey!

And just to keep the similarities going, both players transferred to a major program for their final 2 seasons of college ball. (So they were older than most NBA rookies.)

Sonny Weems did have an impressive final season of college ball at Arkansas where he averaged 15 points on 46% shooting and collected 4.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.3 steals, and 2.8 turnovers in 31.4 minutes. And his less than 1:1 assist to turnover ratio also reminds one of Joey.

After being drafted 39th by the Chicago Bulls in 2008, Weems was traded to Denver where he played for a total of 55 minutes and scored 19 points.

Weems spent most of last season in the NBADL with the Colorado 14ers where he played in 22 games and averaged 20.5 points on 48.8% shooting and collected 4.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.6 blocks, 2.8 turnovers, and 3.0 personal fouls in 28.3 minutes.

Everything about Weems D-League stats says this guy has talent until those turnover concerns appeared. Unfortunately in the handful of minutes Weems played in the NBA, he had the same issues. Sonny Weems’ game has a lot of developing to do for him to be effective at the NBA level.

Sonny Weems, the Joey Graham look-a-like, is more like Joey Graham than just in appearance. But unlike Joey, Sonny comes to the Raptors with a low price tag and is currently at the start of his NBA career.

Unfortunately for Sonny, he won’t have Joey’s high draft pick and guaranteed contract status to give the Raptors any incentive to keep him around if his court sense, ball handling, and turnover issues don’t start to resolve themselves fairly quickly.

Just being able to win a college dunk competition and flush an open court dunk on the fast break will not get you a spot in the rotation of an NBA team.

Good Luck Sonny. Lots of fans will be pulling for you to figure things out, make an impression on the Raptors’ coaching staff, and, of course, thrill everyone with a highlight reel dunk!

(Pre-draft camp measurements are available at draftexpress.com)

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Old 09-21-2009, 10:04 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Woah, he looks like Stephen Graham too!!

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Old 09-22-2009, 06:45 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Unlike Joey, he will not be starting, or be depended on at all.
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Old 09-22-2009, 10:10 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Unlike Joey, he will not be starting, or be depended on at all.
woooo!
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Old 09-22-2009, 10:17 AM   #5 (permalink)
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what's the word on Joey btw?

I've been out of the loop for a few days... is he still unsigned?
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Old 09-22-2009, 10:19 AM   #6 (permalink)
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what's the word on Joey btw?

I've been out of the loop for a few days... is he still unsigned?
Yep. I doubt he'll be in the NBA this season, at least at the begining.
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Old 09-22-2009, 10:28 AM   #7 (permalink)
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ouch.

He's gonna be a good pickup for whoever signs him, IMO.
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Old 09-22-2009, 12:29 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I'm pulling for Weems but have no expectations.

Hope Joey gets another chance. Looks like Stephen Graham is probably gonna get a Bobcats training camp invite.
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Old 09-22-2009, 05:04 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Joey's a good guy and a popular player. I'd wish him the best - but that probably means he should go play in Europe to work on his "team" skills. Not sure if he wants to go?
Still think he could help NBA teams in limited minutes as a SF rebounder or 1 on 1 defender against bigger guys. Too bad that's not so uncommon.
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