As the Miami Heat dominated the most recent Orlando Summer League, all of the attention was focused on Josh Richardson and Justise Winslow. The two had been a part of Miami’s playoff team the year before and people were thirsty to get a closer look at them in an environment where they should thrive.
Next to them, also on this dominant team, was a small looking guard out of VCU. Briante Weber didn’t dominate Summer League the same way Winslow and Richardson did, but he also was clearly better than those around him. He was also one hell of a fun watch with the way he sliced through defenses, rose up with ferocious athleticism, and showed absolutely no fear with the ball in his hands. It was just Summer League, but it was also love at first site. This guy was going to be an NBA player.
Last night, Weber finally solidified himself as an NBA player. After being cut by Miami in preseason, and not lasting past 10-Day contract status with Golden State, Weber signed a multi-year deal with the Charlotte Hornets. This deal wasn’t a guarantee that Weber was a part of the Hornets longterm future, but it gave him a little security. He responded to that security immediately with a solid performance.
Weber finished with eight points, four rebounds, three steals, and an assist in 18 minutes. The final score may have been a blowout, but Weber was playing in key minutes throughout the game. He has been the Hornets primary backup point guard and thriving in the opportunity. This is especially impressive considering the player that was in front of him, Brian Roberts, is a long time veteran that Weber supplanted.
What’s perhaps more impressive is how naturally he’s already fitting into his role. He plays like his hair is on fire off ball, is a relentless defender, and just like summer league he looks amazingly comfortable with the ball in his hands. That never ending attack mentality Weber possesses is exactly the type of player the Hornets should be looking for in a backup point guard.
Jeremy Lin, their most successful backup guard, played with that kinda mentality on offense and thrived. Mo Williams played like that. It’s the way the Hornets want Ramon Sessions to play. There’s a very clear style Charlotte looks for in their backup point guards and via 10-Day contracts the perfect player, with room to improve, has fallen into their laps.
It’s been a lot longer than expected, but Weber is finally an NBA player on a somewhat secure contract. His longterm future isn’t certain, but if he continues to show his value in major minutes there is no reason the Hornets don’t keep him around. They have to keep him around. He fits the criteria of so many backup guards before him, and the talent is obviously there. Charlotte can’t let themselves be yet another team that chose to pass on Weber. They’ll end up regretting it down the line if they do.