Just yesterday, Ridiculous Upside contributor Francis Adu wrote a terrific piece on some of the D-Leaguers to watch in the upcoming NBADL Showcase. Within that piece, Adu broke down five of the more appealing D-League prospects and discussed some of the NBA teams that may decide to call them up after the event. While Adu did a nice job of picking five of the more NBA-ready D-Leaguers, he forgot about one special prospect: Sioux Falls Skyforce guard Briante Weber.
Within the first two months of this year’s D-League season, Weber has probably stood as the singular prospect that has arguably shined brighter than anyone in the league. That high praise is due to how Weber has stood as the D-League’s version of Chris Paul.
In a similar vain to Paul , Weber has stood out due to his ability to just anger the opposing team with his ability to control the game on both ends of the court. Although Weber is consistently able to warrant Facebook likes and Twitter RTs due to his work on the offensive end, defense is where Weber really stands out.
The first sign of Weber’s defensive dominance is seen through him averaging a jaw-dropping 3.17 steals per game, which stands out as the highest average in the D-League. Coinciding with that high steal average, opposing teams are significantly worse when Weber is on the sidelines compared to when he’s on the court. Per 100 possessions, opposing teams have been averaging 100 points per possession when Weber is on the sidelines compared to 97.5 points when Weber’s actually on the court.
Looking away from those eye-popping defensive stats, Weber’s skill on that end of the court is more evident when you actually see him play. On any possession where he’s going against a ball-handler, Weber just loves to get in position and just hound the opposing player.
That aggression combined with his quick foot work allows Weber to continue to be in the face of the opposing guard whether he’s cutting or trying to work around an off-ball screen. Weber does a fantastic job of just being a living nightmare for opposing guards, whether that’s through making that player throw up a bad shot or just committing a turnover. An example of Weber’s defensive aggression is seen in the play below.
While Weber does a great job to shine on the defensive end, he’s still able to do a great job on the other side of the court. Over the course of this season, Weber has showcased himself as a player able to shine in a variety of different ways which include: on-ball cuts, mid-range and perimeter shooting, post-ups and even facilitating. Out of any of those individual areas, Weber probably does his best work as a facilitator.
Weber’s facilitating prowess is yet again evident when you look at both his basic and advanced stats. When you examine Weber’s base stats, you see that he’s averaging 7.2 assists per game, which is the 4th best average among active D-Leaguers. Weber’s work as a facilitator becomes more impressive when you dig deeper and see that he’s maintaining an impressive 2.5 Ast/TO ratio alongside a 30.2% AST% which puts him 5th among active NBADL players.
One glance at Weber leading the Skyforce will make you immediately understand why he’s such a statistically appealing player. Weber truly likes an NBA veteran with the way he controls the pacing and direction of the Skyforce’s offense. Whether he’s working in transition or in the half-court, Weber really looks to be in control of both himself and the Skyforce’s offense. In transition, Weber does a great job of pushing the pace and dishing it out to any teammate that’s running alongside of him.
While solid in transition, Weber does his best work while in half-court sets where he shines as a perimeter facilitator or working through drive-and-dish. On the perimeter, Weber regularly does a great job of looking over the court and finding the best teammate to pass it to. That same mindset goes into Weber’s work in the drive-and-dish. Within the process of him driving to the rim, Weber showcases this great knack for being able to dish it out to a perimeter player or a cutting big. An example of Weber’s drive-and-dish prowess is seen in the play below where he makes a terrific pass to the driving Patrick Miller.
As you can probably tell from the above drive-and-dish, Weber stands as a pretty solid ball-handler. Whether or not he’s utilizing an off-ball screen, Weber is consistently able to move around that initial perimeter defender with a quick first step. Once Weber gets into the paint is where he really shines as he’s incredibly creative with the way he works around the rim. On his way to the basket, Weber can confuse any defender by either changing speeds or directions on a dime or utilizing a smooth spin move. If he doesn’t decide to shake an opponent out their Jordan’s, Weber can throw up a pretty floater.
Moving away from the basket, Weber is still able to shine as a pretty efficient scoring threat. Although he still likes to do a lot of his offensive work as an on-ball cutter, Weber can still get it done as a mid-range or perimeter shooter. As a mid-range shooter, Weber does a nice job of utilizing his smooth handles to create the separation needed to shoot. If he isn’t able to create that separation, Weber can still utilize a smooth step-back jumper over the opposition.
As Weber enters the NBA D-League Showcase, he’ll stand as a player that shouldn’t be in the D-League when he leaves Mississauga, Ontario. Throughout his time in the D-League, Weber has shined as probably the best perimeter defender in the entire league. Alongside that terrific defense, Weber can shine on the offensive end through smooth on-ball cuts, mid-range shooting and as a tremendous facilitator. While it would be sad to see Weber leave the NBA D-League, it will be exciting to know that opportunity to shine in the NBA.