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News » THUNDER AT THE NBA SUMMER LEAGUE


THUNDER AT THE NBA SUMMER LEAGUE


THUNDER AT THE NBA SUMMER LEAGUE
LAS VEGAS - There have been times this summer when you barely even notice No. 5 on the court for the Thunder .

It generally happens when you're paying attention to only the offensive end.

But watch both ends of the floor, and Kyle Weaver's true value takes shape. Take Tuesday's game against the Los Angeles Lakers for example.

Matched up against former college star Adam Morrison, Weaver limited Morrison to 17 points on 5-for-18 shooting and helped hound him into three turnovers. It was Morrison's worst showing yet.

Morrison might not sound like the stiffest competition considering he was a bench warmer for the Lakers last season. But in this setting in Sin City, Morrison is L.A.'s best player and the type of guy who routinely leads the league in scoring. More importantly, Morrison was the latest in a long line of "the other team's best player" that Weaver has been assigned the task of defending.

"You're seeing some of his defensive capabilities," said Thunder summer league coach Brian Keefe. "Guarding the best players on the other team is something he did a little bit for us during the regular season and you're seeing it more now. And I think he's done a good job of it."

Weaver enters tonight's game against San Antonio with modest averages of 10.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, 1.5 assists and 1.5 steals in 27.5 minutes per game. But it's the way he's pestered his man, coming up with blocks and deflections, steals and forced turnovers, that has impressed the Thunder's coaching staff.

"That's what he's here for," Keefe said. "That's what he was known for in college and that's what he's doing for us now. We're seeing more consistency, more intensity and more of an understanding of the schemes, just all the stuff that happens as you grow as a player and you grow into that role."

Weaver is admittedly much more comfortable entering his second season than he was this time a year ago. It's helped that he's been working almost nonstop to improve his game, spending much of this off-season in Oklahoma City to work out under the supervision of the coaching staff and alongside some of his teammates.

"I've learned so much this past year," Weaver said. "It's still challenges and a lot to learn. But I think from just being out there on the floor, things are starting to become a little bit smoother, which is a good thing because it allows me to do the things that I do well out there."

But it hasn't been all defense.

Weaver is shooting well this summer. Thunder coaches talked all last season about how good of a shooter Weaver is. But what has stood out, even in limited chances, is how Weaver is beginning to shed his slow, elaborate shooting form.

He's now looking more comfortable shooting from the perimeter after working on developing a quicker release. Through the Thunder's first two games, Weaver is shooting 53.7 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from 3-point range.

"I've been practicing it and just trying to get it to where I can get it off when defenders are closing out so they can't affect my shot," Weaver said. "I've been doing a lot of shooting this summer so just being consistent with it I think is the biggest thing."

Weaver also has played the point guard position for a good amount of time this summer, learning how to set up the offense while continuing to be a solid facilitator.

He gets lost in the mix only because he chooses to be a team-first player who doesn't mind deferring to and setting up teammates like James Harden, Shaun Livingston, Serge Ibaka, Byron Mullens and Robert Vaden.

"But he can always defend, and he's capable of doing different things when called upon," Keefe said. "When the ball comes to him he can make a shot or make a play. His shooting has improved. But his versatility is where his strength is. He can guard multiple positions and that's what makes him valuable to us."


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: July 18, 2009

 

 
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