By Sam Perley, hornets.com
A long, winding road for Briante Weber over the course of the 2016-17 NBA campaign made its final stop with the Charlotte Hornets, which is where the formerly undrafted point guard spent his final two months of the season. A defensive specialist, Weber quickly established himself as a high-energy, confidently feisty reserve for the Hornets for much of the second half of the year.
Weber’s Journey Begins
The 24-year-old Virginia Commonwealth product kicked off the year playing for the Miami Heat in the preseason although was eventually acquired by the NBA D-League’s Sioux Falls Skyforce at the start of November. In 31 overall appearances for the organization this year, Weber averaged 16.5 points on 45.5 percent shooting, 7.5 rebounds, 7.3 assists and a league-leading 3.3 steals per game.
Weber’s time in Sioux Falls garnered him a number of accolades including a NBA D-League All-Star Game nomination, NBA D-League All-Defensive Team honors and a spot on the All-NBA D-League Second Team as well. On Jan. 31, Weber narrowly missed becoming the first player in league history to register a quadruple-double, tallying 18 points, 11 rebounds, 12 assists and nine steals in a 120-115 home loss to the Oklahoma City Blue.
NBA Comes Calling
Weber soon inked a pair of 10-day contracts with Golden State in early February, where he averaged 1.7 points and 0.7 assists in seven appearances. After the Warriors declined to extend his contract for the rest of the season, Weber signed the first of two 10-day deals with the Hornets on Feb. 27 and debuted in the purple and teal on March 2. Weber’s arrival in Charlotte also reunited him with former college teammate, Treveon Graham, whom he starred alongside with at VCU from 2011-15.
Looking to shake things up a bit, Hornets Head Coach Steve Clifford bumped Weber into the second-string point guard position for a road game against the Indiana Pacers on March 15. Weber went on to finish the night with eight points, a season-high five rebounds, two assists and two steals in the team’s 98-77 loss.
In 10 overall outings from March 15-April 11, Weber averaged 4.2 points on 42.5 percent shooting, 2.1 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 0.8 steals in 14.6 minutes of action. During this span, he also signed a multi-year deal with the Hornets on March 19, giving the team his rights for the summer and next season as well. Weber capped off the year with a season-high 10 points and two assists in Charlotte’s 103-76 road loss to the Atlanta Hawks on April 11.
Counting his time with Golden State, Weber averaged 3.1 points on 41.7 percent shooting, 1.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 10.3 minutes of action across 20 overall NBA appearances this season. As a Hornet, Weber put up marks of 3.8 points on 43.5 percent shooting, 1.6 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 12.2 minutes over 13 total outings.
2017-18 Season Outlook
Weber has a non-guaranteed contract for the 2017-18 campaign, but has certainly thrust himself into the conversion for a roster spot on the Hornets next year. During player end-of-season media availability on April 12, Weber pinpointed why he thinks he could continue to be a viable option for the team next year.
“[Charlotte’s] been talking defense the whole time and that’s one of the biggest keys. That’s pretty much my strong suit,” he said. “I [haven’t made] it. [My deal’s] non-guaranteed. At the end of the day, I’m still working to make sure my stuff is guaranteed. I’m going to do whatever I can in my wheelhouse to work and show them I deserve to be here and want to be here.”
He added with regards to where he wants to improve this offseason, “[I need] to learn the culture. I don’t know too much about Charlotte. I’ve probably got to reprogram my brain from Miami to here to understand the difference between terminology and stuff like that. [I want to work on] just my pick-and-roll play. Just getting more comfortable with it in the NBA. I pretty much dominated in the D-League, but it’s time to step it up and be a more proficient pick-and-roll player in the NBA.”
Weber is also expected to play for the Hornets at the Orlando Pro Summer League in early July. Last year, Weber averaged 7.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists and a tournament-high 3.8 steals in four games for Miami at this particular competition. Treveon Graham, Johnny O’Bryant and any incoming rookies will likely join Weber on Charlotte’s Summer League roster as well.