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 You-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.
Weems does test out very well athletically.
First off, Weems is in terrific shape. Only 4.4 percent 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 percent 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. He 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 percent 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.
Weems spent most of last season in the NBDL with the Colorado 14ers, where he played in 22 games and averaged 20.5 points on 48.8 percent 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. His game has a lot of developing to do for him to be effective at the NBA level.
As you can see, Weems, the Joey Graham look-a-like, is more like him 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!