Miami Heat Tab Skyforce Guard Weber for Playoff Push
Within the inner sanctum of the Sanford Pentagon, a man’s life changed forever. Skyforce guard Briante Weber was told he would be a member of the Miami Heat.
The official word from the team was announced on Sunday. However with Heat Senior Vice President Andy Elisburg and Skyforce General Manager of Basketball Operations Adam Simon gathered in Coach Dan Craig’s office after disposing of Westchester in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, Weber was given the opportunity he has worked toward since snatching the ball for the first time.
The official press release reads:
Weber, who was originally signed by the HEAT earlier this season on October 19 and then waived on October 24, appeared in 28 regular season games (nine starts) this season with the HEAT’s NBA Development League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, and averaged 10.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 2.11 steals and 28.8 minutes while shooting 46.9 percent from the field, 40.8 percent from three-point range and 72.5 percent from the foul line. Among NBA D-League leaders, he finished third in defensive rating (99.5) and fourth in steals per game. He recently helped the Skyforce complete the 2-0 series sweep of the Westchester Knicks in the first round of the NBA D-League playoffs after scoring 21 points, grabbing five rebounds and recording five steals in a, 112-105, victory on April 8.
Earlier this season, he signed a 10-day contract with Memphis on March 11 and appeared in six games (four starts) with the Grizzlies averaging 4.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.50 steals in 27.7 minutes while shooting 34.2 percent from the field and 75 percent from the foul line. He scored in double-figures twice and led the team in steals and blocks once each.
Weber played all four seasons at Virginia Commonwealth finishing as VCU’s all-time career steals leader (374), shattering the previous 29-year old record by 117, capping his career third on the NCAA’s steals list, just 12 shy from becoming the all-time career leader before missing the final 10 games of his senior season due to injury. He became the first player in conference history to be named the Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year in three consecutive seasons, including his senior, junior and sophomore seasons, and also set a program record with a recorded 45.5-inch vertical leap.
The window of opportunity for the Heat to bring Weber into the fold (including wide speculation that Dorell Wright will be added in the coming days) is due to the tight space available in correlation to the NBA salary cap. A bevy of maneuvers late in the season left two Miami roster spots open which would become available to fill over the last week of the season just in time for the NBA playoffs to avoid the luxury tax.
For the Skyforce going forward and their potential NBADL title chase, not having Weber could be considered a serious blow. Keep in mind the Heat could potentially assign Weber to Sioux Falls. Another element worth considering is that Sioux Falls is still loaded at point guard. The current starting backcourt of DeAndre Liggins and Bubu Palo is still plenty stout.
In reserve, Sioux Falls still has two other NBA-seasoned point guards with Toure’ Murry and Larry Drew II. Murry’s resume includes time with three NBA clubs, multiple defensive awards from his time at Wichita State plus a spot on the 2013 NBADL All-Defensive Second team and a D-League title that same season with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. In the NBA Drew II has nearly 700 assists over three regular seasons with the Skyforce and some time with the Philadelphia 76ers. Not exactly what you would call a bare cupboard.
Congratulations to the former VCU Ram for working his way back from a serious injury to help two teams in a playoff setting. Step one began Sunday with 2 points, 1 rebound and 1 assist in 2:43 played wearing number 12 in a win over Orlando. It is the 39th Gatorade call-up of the season.