Scarred Weaver finds new life with Jazz
Los Angeles • Kyle Weaver has the scar to prove it.
Long, thin and slightly discolored, the mark cuts across the Jazz guard's right leg. It's normally obscured by a sock. But when Weaver's asked about the lowest point of his career, he pulls down the cover, shows off the scar and offers proof.
After going through 2010-11 training camp with the Chicago Bulls, thinking he was going to stick with the No. 1 team in the Eastern Conference before becoming a last-minute cut, Weaver was shipped to the NBA Development League's Iowa Energy. Strong numbers followed: 16.6 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 21 games. But just when the 25-year-old former Washington State standout felt that a return call from Chicago was about to appear on the line, he was forced to make a decision: alternate rest with pain and continue to ignore a misplaced piece of bone in his right leg, or immediately have surgery and acknowledge that life as a professional basketball player is rarely as perfect as it looks.
Weaver looked in the mirror, then chose the latter.
"It was just like, 'All right. What's next?,' " said Weaver, prior to the Utah Jazz's practice Monday at Westchester High School.
Something promising and new, it turns out, for the three-year NBA veteran who played 68 games for Oklahoma City from 2008-10.
Weaver was traded to the D-League's Austin Toros, again putting up solid numbers while his leg scarred and healed. An unexpected late-season call-up by Utah followed. And after tying a career high with 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting, knocking down 3 of 5 3-point attempts and being one of the few Jazz players who showed life Sunday in a road loss to Sacramento, Weaver was able to pull his sock back up Monday and proudly discuss his new world.
"It definitely felt good, man," said Weaver, who signed a 10-day contract with Utah on Thursday. "I never expected for it to happen this fast, too. It's a great feeling, man. I just want to keep learning. And I don't want to use the last game as a cushion to get comfortable."
Utah (36-41) might be too comfortable. The Jazz's season is technically already over. No playoff spot, just five regular-season games to go, and too many players either dealing with injuries or searching for reasons to consistently produce. But as effort and focus plague some of his new teammates while a disappointing season winds down, Weaver is attempting to extend his unpredictable career.
Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor said that the organization planned to keep a close eye on the former D-Leaguer during his 10-day run, and Utah coach Tyrone Corbin has already been impressed with Weaver's dedication and drive.
The aggressive but smooth attack Weaver delivered against the Kings; his energy, confidence and professional delivery all traits that Corbin has called for from better-paid players performing with the security of guaranteed contracts.
"He's a veteran kid who's looking for another opportunity," Corbin said. "And he's doing everything he can to give himself a chance to be successful now."
Jazz center Francisco Elson is still experiencing swelling and pain in his left knee. â¦ According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Utah is just the second team in the past 17 seasons to win seven consecutive games and lost eight straight in the same year, joining the 2008-09 Detroit Pistons. Only eight teams in NBA history have achieved both marks in the same season.
The Kyle Weaver file
Position • Guard
Year • 3
Vitals • 6-foot-6, 201 pounds
Stats • 10.5 points, 2.5 assists, 1.5 rebounds
Career numbers • 5.1 points, 2.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists
College • Washington State
Former teams • Oklahoma City, Chicago
Jazz at Lakers
P At Staples Center, Los Angeles
Tipoff • 8:30 p.m.
TV • ROOT Sports,NBA TV
Radio • 1320 AM, 1600 AM, 98.7 FM
Records • Jazz 36-41, Lakers 55-21
Last meeting • Lakers, 96-85 (April 1)
About the Jazz • Coach Tyrone Corbin had not settled on a starting lineup against Los Angeles prior to practice Monday.
About the Lakers • Lakers center Andrew Bynum (right knee) is expected to start, while forward Pau Gasol (right knee) was scheduled to undergo an MRI exam on Monday.
V For exclusive news, interviews, video and analysis, check The Tribune's Jazz Notes blog. > sltrib.com/blogs/jazznotes
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