WHAT A TIME TO BRI ALIVE

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The soon-to-be Disney story that is Briante Weber’s basketball career continues to gain momentum. The former VCU Minister of Defense is busy blowing up ball handlers in the NBA Summer League with the Miami Heat.

It was always understood that Weber’s offense would need time to develop, and his 40-percent shooting in eight summer league contests doesn’t dispel that notion, but he’s looking more comfortable all the time. On Wednesday, Weber dropped in 18 points, including a pair of 3-pointers. Weber also appears to be getting a handle on his role as a facilitator at the point.

On the defensive side of the ball, he’s Briante “Bleeping” Weber, G.O.A.T, esq. He’s averaging 4.3 steals per game combined in the Orlando and Las Vegas Summer Leagues, including two 6-steal contests and one 5-swipe game. In one game, Weber scored nine points, grabbed 10 rebounds, dished out six assists and ripped six steals.

In all, Weber is averaging 8.8 points, 4.5 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 4.3 steals per game.

Weber is one of four VCU alums playing in NBA Summer Leagues. Treveon Graham shredded the Orlando Summer League with the Magic’s White squad. The second-leading scorer in VCU history averaged 16.0 points, while shooting .558 from the floor in five games. Graham is a member of Utah’s Las Vegas Summer League team, but hasn’t received much in the way of minutes. We’ll conduct a full investigation on behalf of Ram Nation shortly.

Melvin Johnson is playing with Houston in Las Vegas. He’s appeared in one game so far for eight minutes. He knocked down one 3-pointer in that contest.

Juvonte Reddic, meanwhile, has appeared in three games for the NBA D-League Select squad. He’s averaging 2.7 points and scored six Wednesday in a loss to Philadelphia.

NBA TRAINING CAMPS OPEN

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Troy Daniels aims for an expanded role in Charlotte this season.

Troy Daniels aims for an expanded role in Charlotte this season.

As of Tuesday, all NBA training camps had opened, which means a couple of former VCU stars are back to work.

For Troy Daniels, training camp won’t be so much about making the Charlotte Hornets’ roster as it is convincing Coach Steve Clifford to expand his role. Daniels, who was traded twice last season, arrived in Charlotte in February and saw action in just 11 games with the team. In his first six weeks with the Hornets, Daniels played in just four games. It wasn’t until the final weeks of the season that Clifford finally called Daniels’ number. Daniels averaged about 26 minutes in the Hornets last four games of the season and knocked down 12-of-26 three-point field goals during that stretch. Daniels topped 15 points three times during that stretch, including a 24-point effort to end the year.

During an interview this summer, Clifford said Daniels would see more action, but how much remains unclear. It’s worth noting the Hornets finished last in the NBA in 3-point shooting (.318) last season. I’m sure Clifford has noticed.

Daniels has been limited early in camp by a strained hamstring, but it’s not expected to linger.

Meanwhile, here’s Troy’s face:

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JAZZ DEAL PROVIDES INTRIGUING OPPORTUNITY FOR TREVEON GRAHAM

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Treveon Graham averaged 16.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game last season.

Treveon Graham averaged 16.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game last season.

The Freight Train is ready to chug across the Great Salt Lake.

The Utah Jazz officially announced the signing of Treveon Graham Monday. Terms were not disclosed, but Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders and others are reporting Graham’s deal as a partially guaranteed 3-year contract.

Graham, who was not selected in the NBA Draft in June, played for the San Antonio Spurs in the Utah and Las Vegas summer leagues and averaged 7.8 points per game. Graham was said to be receiving interest from a handful of teams following his summer league stint and had been weighing his options.

This deal is an intriguing one, and could pay off for Graham. The Jazz currently have 13 players signed to guaranteed contracts for 2015-16. That includes injured point guard Dante Exum, who is expected to miss the entire 2015-16 campaign.

Source: RealGM.com

Source: RealGM.com

Graham will most likely try to win a spot at shooting guard, but could also play small forward in small lineups. With that in mind, it’s important to note the contracts of Elijah Millsap (who shot 34 percent from the field last season) and Chris Johnson are currently non-guaranteed.

NBA rosters are limited to 15 players in total, although only 13 can be active on a given night. Teams are allowed to carry 20 players during training camp and can then allocate four (up from three in previous years) cut players to their D-League affiliates. While teams do not retain exclusive rights, and can be signed by any NBA team, it does keep allocated players out of the D-League draft and allows teams to place them with their affiliate. Utah, in case you were wondering, is affiliated with the Idaho Stampeders in Boise. The Houston Rockets developed Troy Daniels in this very same manner.

By joining the Jazz for training camp, Graham has given himself an excellent chance to remain under the team’s umbrella. Even if he doesn’t make the team out of camp, there’s a very good chance the Jazz will place him in Idaho and give him a chance to develop.

Seven former VCU players have appeared in an NBA game.

PORTLAND DEAL COULD BE GOOD FOR MAYNOR

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Former Ram Eric Maynor is averaging 4.2 points and 2.9 rebounds per game in four NBA seasons.

Former Ram Eric Maynor is averaging 4.2 points and 2.9 rebounds per game in four NBA seasons.

Nobody knows the NBA’s Northwest Division like Eric Maynor.

The former VCU star – the Rams’ all-time leader in points and assists – was dealt Thursday prior to the NBA’s trade deadline from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the division-rival Portland Trail Blazers. Maynor was originally drafted by the Utah Jazz in 2009, meaning when he slips on his Blazers’ jersey this week, he’ll have played for three-fifths of the division in four seasons. Denver and Minnesota, you’re on the clock.

Maynor struggled this season after tearing his ACL last year. After three solid seasons as Russell Westbrook’s steady backup, Maynor saw his minutes evaporate in favor of second-year man Reggie Jackson. Maynor did not play in any of the Thunder’s three most recent games and has logged double-digit minutes once since mid-December. He’s averaging 2.8 points and shooting .313 from the field, down from his career marks of 4.2 points and .395 shooting. Maynor’s assist-to-turnover ratio is still a desirable 2.5-to-1, however.

So, it was probably time for a fresh start for Maynor, who heads to a 25-29 Portland team that is currently 10th in the Western Conference. The Blazers desperately needed an upgrade behind All-Star point guard and odds-on Rookie of the Year favorite Damian Lillard. Lillard’s current backups are journeyman Ronnie Price and former Duke standout Nolan Smith. I would consider Maynor, who can still run an offense, a considerable step up from both Price and Smith.

It could also serve as an audition of sorts for Maynor, whose original rookie contract expires at season’s end. There’s always a market in the NBA for point guards with 3-to-1 career assist-to-turnover ratios.

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