The Young Onez: DeMar DeRozan, Sonnny Weems, and Amir Johnson
With the contestants for the Sprite Slam-Dunk contest finalized and the All-Star weekend a little over two weeks away, I thought it would be interesting to write a little piece on three very special and high-flying Toronto Raptors.
DeMar DeRozan, Amir Johnson, and Sonny Weems, also known as the “Young Onez” are a trio of talented up and coming Raptors that could very well be the futures of this organization.
Thanks to their run and gun offense, highlight reel dunks and most importantly their incredible charisma, the “Young Onez” have successfully won over the hearts of the Raptors faithful.
They are a huge hit with the fans and they certainly make for some great entertainment that leaves you coming back again and again to see what they will do next.
Without further a due I would like to better introduce you to the three talented individuals that form this terrific trio…
Sonny Weems, SG/SF
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Weight: 203 lbs.
Drafted: 39th overall in the 2008 NBA Draft (Chicago Bulls)
Years Pro: 2
Play style: Scoring, Athletic, Highflyer, Slasher
Twitter: Sonny13, http://twitter.com/#!/sonny13
Sonny Weems is a pure athlete with some amazing leaping ability.
In High school, aside from being a stand out basketball player, he was also a 6’10 high jumper in track & field.
He averaged over 20 points a game as a sophomore and Junior and an astounding 14.0 Rebounds per game in his senior season, when he was named to the first team all-state.
Weems is averaging 10.8 PPG, 3.1 RPG, and 2.2 APG in 27.0 MPG this season. Although these numbers are not amazing, he has been improving thanks in large part to his increased playing time.
It is yet to be seen whether he will be back in Toronto next year since his contract expires following this season and in addition there is a chance he could be dealt before the deadline.
Nevertheless, Weems is an electrifying young player that can really get the crowd going with his high-flying dunks. I would love to see Weems in the NBA Rising Stars Dunk Contest at some point and if you look at this monster Free Throw line dunk in an NCAA Dunk Contest, you will see what I mean.
Amir Johnson PF
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Weight: 210 lbs
High School: Westchester HS (Los Angeles)
Years Pro: 5
Playstyle: Athletic, Highflyer, Rebounding (Offensive)
Twitter: IamAmirJohnson, http://twitter.com/iamamirjohnson
Unlike Sonny Weems, we have already inked Amir Johnson to a 5-year $34 million deal. Although this may be a little bit too much a little too soon I think he has a lot of room to grow and, in the end, this contract could very well end up paying off for the team.
So long as he can stay out of foul trouble, Amir can play well alongside his fellow “Young Onez” in the starting rotation; however, he has also excelled in his role as a spark plug coming off the bench alongside sixth man of year candidate Leandro Barbosa.
He is currently averaging 10.2 PPG and 6.6 RPG in 25.9 minutes. These are great stats for him and I expect that he will eventually develop in to a player that can average somewhere around a double-double, in a sixth man type role, on a consistent basis.
Although, no matter when we play him, he will consistently give us energy and hustle whether it is on defence, offense or on the glass (especially with his offensive rebounding abilities)
Over the next five years of his contract, the team will surely benefit from his consistent play and his hard work and hustle on both sides of the ball.
Here are some highlights of his that you can check out...
DeMar DeRozan SG/SF
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
Weight: 220 lbs
Years Pro: 1
Drafted: 9th Overall in the 2009 NBA Draft (Toronto Raptors)
Play style: Athletic, Slasher, Highflyer, Scoring
Twitter: DeMar_DeRozan, http://twitter.com/demar_derozan
In his second year in the league, DeMar has shown incredible poise and is becoming a leader on this young team.
He is currently averaging 15.4 PPG and 3.5 RPG in 33.8 minutes a game. It is not hard to see that he is really developing as a player when you look at some of the breakout games he has had so far this season and the improvements he has made in his jump shooting ability.
In addition, his amazing athleticism has garnered him consideration as one of the top dunkers in the league.
Due to an injury to Brandon Jennings, he will have a chance to showcase his rim rocking talents as he makes his second appearance in the NBA Rising Stars Dunk Contest on All-Star Saturday night.
As he continues to develop, he will be able to combine his athletic slashing ability with his improving jump shot, which will really give opposing defences a hard time, especially if he can become a consistent three-point shooter.
On the other side of the ball, his natural athleticism is a boost to his defensive abilities, which will also improve as he learns more and gains more experience.
This “young one” certainly has a bright future ahead of him, but for now, I suggest that you look back on some of his great highlights.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MClaYOFGHCs&feature=player_embedded (dunk on Tyrus Thomas)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
These three guys have developed some great chemistry both on and off the court.
We are extremely lucky to have them here in Toronto, and it is clear that the fans are very appreciative. The positive energy they bring to the team and the city, even with a losing record, is a huge boost for Raptors fans as well as basketball fans all over the country.
Here’s one last video...
Keep up the good work “Young Onez” and let’s go Raps!
***I could only put so many videos into one slideshow before it becomes overwhelming, so if anyone has more videos they would like to add feel free to leave a comment with the links.