With CSKA Moscow, Weems Has Unfinished Business In The Euroleague In Replacing Kirilenko
Five months ago, Sonny Weems was in Kaunas, Lithuania with a jacked-up black and blue ankle and couldn't get treatment to get the swelling down.
Forget culture shock of adjusting to life outside of the NBA.
It was a trip within the trip and not the way he wanted to end what had been an impressive season in Europe.
But if anyone could bounce back, it would be Weems -- the third-best scoring leader in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague last season and a guy that went from Denver, to Toronto to taking advantage of playing abroad during the lockout.
After a long flight back to the States, an offseason filled with intense rehab sessions and long hours put in at the gym, Weems is officially back in the game and better off for his prior overseas experience in Lithuania.
Replacing Andrei Kirilenko with CSKA Moscow is not an easy task, but the organization managed to make a quality adjustment in signing Weems -- the 6'6 small forward -- to replace the Minnesota bound Kirilenko.
Strong on both ends of the floor, Weems signed a three-year deal with powerhouse CSKA who is coming off a season where they dropped a heartbreaker to Olympiacos in the Euroleague final, only to rebound and claim yet another Russian League championship. Weems will help anchor the offense and brings with him an average of 15.5 points and 5 rebounds in 15 Euroleague games last season.
Those numbers only trailed Alphonso Ford, Bo McCalebb and Vassilis Spanoulis.
Even those outside of Kaunas applaud Weems' overall experience.
"I think Sonny Weems proved by his play for Zalgiris that he is the player of highest level with the mind open towards European basketball," said CSKA head coach Ettore Messina said in a press release.
"With his abilities and excellent personality he can become one of our team's leaders for the next seasons to come. I am sure that he will be a great addition to our team."
It's hard to really explain what Kirilenko meant to CSKA Moscow during his full season with the team. In the end, we are talking about the 2011-12 Euroleague MVP, named the best defender in the Euroleague, dominated countless statistical categories and his impact extends beyond the court and into Russia's community.
Yet Weems has proven his effectiveness and playing alongside a core of Viktor Khryapa, Nenad Krstic, Milos Teodosic and the new addition of Drew Nicholas will only enhance and showcase Weems' versatility.
It sure beats not getting treatment on a severely sprained ankle.
That's not the way he wanted to go out in his first season overseas.
Now it's Weems' turn to put the hurt on someone with CSKA Moscow.