Sky's the limit

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:44 AM ET

TORONTO - Eventually, Sonny Weems’ jump shot will drop.

In time, Weems will be able to establish his perimeter game and then be able to put the ball on the deck when defenders are forced to get up in his face.

Whether that time arrives this pre-season, which has two games remaining, beginning with Wednesday’s home finale against Chicago, or if it plays out sometime during the upcoming regular season isn’t known.

What is known is that Weems is working hard on refining a jumper and expanding an offence that has the potential to be very lethal.

Athletic and long, Weems has the body type to excel at the swing position, a project no longer who will be a rotation piece once the regular season tips off next week.

At this time a year ago, Weems was as unknown as he was raw, a defensive presence who could defend multiple positions and a guy on offence who can run the play and score in transition.

No one knows what potential impact Weems will have on these new-look Raptors, a team that has interchangeable pieces and no definitive go-to guy.

On some nights, depending on matchups, the bulk of touches will go to Andrea Bargnani, on other nights it’ll go through Linas Kleiza’s hands and there will be times when the team’s bench will be asked to handle the offensive burden.

No doubt, there will be games with Weems in the limelight going off for a 20-point night.

The potential is there, but now comes the hard part of parlaying those long shooting nights in the gym into a more consistent stroke.

“I know it’s going to fall,’’ Weems began following Monday’s workout. “It’s a long season and I’m going to take a shot when there’s an open look.

“I’m not happy now, but I’m in the gym every night.”

Weems spent the off-season working on his jumper in anticipation of a big season that promises to usher in more touches, more minutes and more responsibility for a player who is scratching the surface of his potential.

He took part in the Raptors’ summer league and has shown absolutely no fear in heaving a shot when a look is presented this off-season.

Only once in six games has Weems shot better than 50% from the field.

His range has to expand, which can only be achieved by being able to step up beyond the arc and raining three-pointers.

His damage is often done in the mid-post and in time Weems will have to attack the rim better, draw contact and get to the line.

There are a lot of ifs surrounding Weems, much like the team itself, but you can see potential once this puzzle becomes complete.

“He’s been trying to force things a little bit,’’ head coach Jay Triano said when asked to assess Weems’ shot selection in the pre-season. “He’s trying to expand what he did this summer and we haven’t calmed him down at all, at least not yet, because we need his burst of energy.

“I don’t want to take away his energy. He’s got to be hungry, but it has to be within the confines of the team. At the same time, we need a guy who can flat out go out there and score.”

Which Weems can.

Weems is very content coming off the bench and providing a spark.

Weems, Jarrett Jack and Leandro Barbosa are perimeter reserves who have fitted in well, igniting a team by bringing different elements to the floor.

“It’s a good unit,’’ added Weems. “There’s speed, quickness, defence. Sometimes when we’re on the bench we call ourselves the terror squad.

“We love creating intensity through the defensive end. That’s our main focus.”


Videos

Photos