Guest Writer: PD Web
Romeo Weems is a modern, versatile wing that has ideal NBA size, length and skills to serve as a connecting “glue” wing at the next level.
Romeo Weems: W, 6’7″,+6 WS, 215 lbs., DePaul, Sophomore (19 years old)
Offensive role: Glue wing
Defensive role: POA guard defender and helpside menace
NBA projected role: Low usage connecting wing
Swing factor: Shooting
ESPN 2021 mock draft: N/A
Stats: 8.0 PPG, 5.2 RPG, .7 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.3 BPG
Splits: 39.2 FG%, 35.5 3P%, 59.7 FT%.
.468 TS%, 2.1 BPM, 18.6 USG%.
Additional shooting numbers:
Dunks: 1-2 (50.0%)
At the rim: 14-21 (66.7%)
Long 2’s: 8-29 (27.6%)
Romeo Weems committed to hometown DePaul over Michigan, Michigan State, Oregon and Ohio State- becoming the highest rated recruit in the program’s history. Weems had a decorated HS career in terms of honors (Mr.Basketball & Team USA honors) and statistically (posted 21 points, 16 rebounds, 12 assists, 10 steals and 7 blocks in a regional championship game against Detroit Country Day).
As a freshman at DePaul, Weems started all 32 games, scoring in double figures 12 times and was named to the Big East All-Freshman team. The final per game totals aren’t eye popping, but Weems plays a well rounded game filled with fun micro-skill that fit the needs of the lineup. Romeo flirted with entering the 2020 draft before returning to school close to the second deadline.
The sophomore ascension would be delayed considerably, as DePaul was one of the most COVID troubled programs in the country – having games delayed, suspended or cancelled over and over and over again. DePaul didn’t play its first game until 12/23, almost a month after programs like Gonzaga, and this delay has contributed to DePaul only playing 11 games as of time of writing – making the synergy numbers useless.
Romeo Weems had shown some great flashes on defense for DePaul in his freshman campaign.
He has looked even more comfortable shooting the deep ball in his few games this year and will garner more attention as his offensive game continues to develop. pic.twitter.com/vbgylFJEly
— Aram Cannuscio (@AC__Hoops) January 11, 2021
Stop me if you had heard this one before – If this multi-talented wing shoots at an average level, he is a very interesting prospect. Romeo to this point has been consistently inconsistent at all 3 levels of a shooter through his college career: 48/36/59 49 ts% doesn’t inspire or deject. It’s a mixed bag – which may be the best way to describe the context of DePaul.
Romeo Weems with the pull-up 3 in transition without any hesitation pic.twitter.com/hgzUgtn75n
— Zach Milner (@ZachMilner13) January 17, 2021
Weems is best as the connecting piece who can do a little bit of everything on the wing – and DePaul needs a lot of certain things out of him, it’s just not a clean context. By that I mean that DePaul asks Romeo to self create more than he can support efficiently: a career 24-81 non-ATR 2s tanks his TS% and general shooting outlook. The jumper itself looks fine; there is a valgus collapse at the knees that leads to an over-powered wrist (which causes his L/R misses to be dramatic) – but those are simple cleanups with some self-organizational optimizing.
The most concerning thing about Weems, was a behavior of not-shooting last season, even when left wide open. It hasn’t popped up this year yet, and taking more ambitious shots, regardless of results, is a positive indicator for his shooting long term. By reducing Weems role to c&s and slashing will make his shooting fundamentals more optimistic, similar to what Jaden McDaniels is experiencing in Minnesota.
With a high center of gravity and being a less than explosive wing, Weems isn’t suited for any kind of self-creation burden. Weems’ handle is best suited to big spaces where he can survey for passes. A large concern about Weems’ upside is his inability to self-create easy looks in the halfcourt.
Weems isn’t yet the shooter to make bigger wings uncomfortable nor is he strong enough to dislodge smaller players who try to fluster his handle by climbing in. As a slasher attacking closeouts, the usage most common for a wing on a rookie contract, Weems has enough handle to get to his spots.
Weems may be averaging less than 1 APG on the year, but this is not a direct reflection of his feel and passing ability. DePaul does not have good spacing or an offense that generates good assistable looks. Often, Weems will make good reads when he recognizes advantage and picks out a creative solution like on the well placed lob below.
It’s not to say that Weems is yet a good passer, but there are flashes of a player who understands angles and rotations better than the relevant stats would suggest. With continual work on ball skills, it doesn’t seem far off to see Weems developing into a good ball mover capable of picking out advanced passes when the opportunity arises.
As a POA defender, Weems has specific limitations. Weems shouldn’t be asked to guard wings or perimeter 4s – they can out-physical Weems and his length doesn’t adequately cover the advantage gained. However, when put on guards, it’s a whole different story. Against 1s, 2s and combos, Weems can navigate the perimeter so well as he is never out of reach of a deflection or a block.
Romeo Weems offensive games have been hit or miss, but there are defensive possessions like that that will guarantee my interest in his first round status. Hard closeout, push baseline, chase strip, recover, switch, keep high pressure, force a deeep off-balance 3. pic.twitter.com/w55VJXUaXr
— PD Web (@abovethebreak3) February 5, 2021
Many a Big East guard has thought they got a clean blow-by only to have one of Weems’ long arms poke the ball away from behind. It’s a useful defensive archetype as a counter to the jumbo initiator lineups – where teams will put 2 smaller combos next to a Luka or a Bron, and having a wing who can switch between the smaller guards without sacrificing mobility is very valuable. Off-ball Weems is raw but has good instincts – often arriving a second out of synchronicity for a would-be steal or rotation, but his tools allow for some margin of error at the college level. This nose for the ball can be molded further at the next level.
Weems finishing numbers are pretty good, but I think there are multiple factors camouflaging his weaknesses. 1) Weems can’t get to the rim off the bounce in the halfcourt, often resulting in midranges than the expected contested finish 2) he is a very good cutter and is able to find small spaces that others may not.
When facing a straight up contest from an NBA or college+ sized player, the results are not as inspiring as the numbers suggest. Weems is lacking in both craft and explosiveness and will need to take leaps in both to replicate the good college finishing numbers in the league. There are too many of these “50/50” finishes, where it’s not a craft finish, but it’s not an over the top athleticism finish.
Weems is a bit skinny, he moves very well laterally, but lacks that violent burst on the first step or jumping. Adding to the posterior chain while lowering the center gravity are my biggest concerns of Weems’ physical development. Those problems also happen to be something the NBA has proven to be broadly quite good at – adding explosiveness while not sacrificing movement skills. Ideally 230 lbs is a good weight, more potentially if he proves to be able to guard up to 4s.
This may seem to be negative about a player I volunteered, no, demanded to write about. That’s because it is important to outline why Weems coalition of valuable skills aren’t worth an automatic pick in the teens. Weems is the sort of player that good teams can never get enough of and one that is not particularly useful to a bad team. I would have picked Weems in the first round last season, regardless of the strange freshman year.
If Romeo Weems' flashes on offense are more than just flashes, he's a legit potential lottery guy (or mid first) with his size and defense already at a high level. I really hope the jumper stays consistent this year. He shot well last year, but was hot/cold throughout the year. pic.twitter.com/tGsRXhUpmn
— Spencer (@SKPearlman) December 29, 2020
The downside of versatility is that versatility does not exist in a vacuum, it’s impossible to meaningfully “connect” a lineup that doesn’t make sense or “glue” an offensive that needs direct punch. I don’t mean to place all this blame on context, it’s a double coincidence of need – DePaul needed a wing in a different mold and they happened to get the one wired to win as a 3rd “best” player with a diffuse impact, and Weems needed a context where multiplicity mattered.
In the league this problem won’t really exist, most teams have begun to build wing stables that require different skills and body types. Most NBA teams do not need on-ball scoring punch: NBA needs rotational wings who can slide, have utility between matchups, possess interesting ball skills versus created advantage and can knock down shots… HEY, wait a minute!
Another brilliant piece of writing by the basketball wordsmith himself, PD Web. Make sure you follow him on Twitter @abovethebreak3 and subscribe to his Patreon if you can, he pumps out some of the best content in the industry.
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Categories: NBA Draft