Wright Where He Belongs

Image Credit: Jim Cowser, Associated Press

The Mavs are 16-6, 2nd in the Western Conference, 1st in the Southwestern Division, and have 4th best record in the NBA. Luka Doncic has been MVP caliber good, but I still think there is a lot of credit to go around for one of the hottest teams in the NBA. While Delon Wright has lost his starting job and is 8th on the team in minutes per game, his impact on both ends of the floor is a big reason why the Mavs are off to such a strong start to the 2019-2020 Season.

Any way you want to chop it up, Delon Wright has been one of the most efficient playmakers in the NBA this season after signing a 3yr/$28M sign-and-trade deal with the Mavericks. His 7.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 3.4 assists don’t jump off the stat sheet but when you consider his efficiency and limited minutes, it becomes much more impressive.

  • Only two guards in the entire NBA who play at least 15 minutes per game have an Offensive Rating of at least 128 and a Defensive Rating of 107 or less, George Hill and Delon Wright. It is not phenomenal company to be in with George Hill but I think this stat does speak to how efficiently these two point guards have played this year.
  • Of the 11 players in the league to average less than 0.7 turnovers per game this Season, Delon Wright is the only one to average at least 3 assists per game (Interesting side note: Tim Hardaway Jr has the highest usage percentage of any player on this list of turnover averse players).
  • Of players who have appeared in at least 10 games and play at least 15 minutes per game, Delon Wright has the highest assist/turnover ratio in the NBA with his 4.9 assists for every turnover.

The major question mark surrounding Delon Wright’s game coming into this Season was his three point shooting which was very inconsistent in his first 4 NBA Seasons. So far this year with the Mavs Delon hasn’t been shooting many threes (1.7 per game) but he is making over 35% of them and has the highest Effective Field Goal Percentage of his career at 53.1%.

Everything Mavs fans hoped to see from Delon Wright was on display during their recent win in Los Angeles on December 1st where Delon scored 17 points (7-12 shooting, 3-6 on threes), 9 assists (0 turnovers), 5 rebounds, and 4 steals.

One of the things you see in Delon Wright’s highlight videos is how well he cuts to the basket when he is off-ball. He is great with his timing, he cuts really hard, and he is a smooth and crafty finisher once he gets inside. Delon plays a team game, on both offense and defense, and really just tries to do whatever his team needs to win each game. He never seems out of control, plays at his own pace, and consistently makes great decisions on both ends of the floor.

Wright’s ability to come up with steals is legitimate. His favorite move is to bait guards into trying to throw the ball over his head, then he just uses his length to snag the ball and take off in transition the other way. Coming up with steals is not a new skill for Delon Wright, he has been a ball hawking and pocket picking for years.

I am glad to have Delon Wright in Dallas on his 3 year deal. The versatility of this roster and coaching staff has allowed Delon to focus on what he does well to contribute to winning basketball and does not force him to do too much. He seems to fit in well with the rest of the team and focuses on winning basketball games over any individual stats or recognition. It has been a pleasure to watch Delon so far this Season and I cannot wait to see how he develops over the duration of this contract.

Delon Wright tweaked his groin muscle in the Mavs 46 point win over the Pelicans on Saturday afternoon and will miss the second night of this back-to-back home stand against the Sacramento Kings on Sunday night. The Mavs are going to miss his versatile defense, efficient playmaking, and smooth finishing as they try to continue their hot streak (10-1 in their last 11 games) against a sputtering Kings team that is 8-13 and lost 6 of their last 10.

Sacramento will be without their excellent young Point Guard, De’Aaron Fox, and their high flying young Forward (and the man they picked over Luka in 2018), Marvin Bagley III. They are going to have to rely on Harrison Barnes, Buddy Hield, and Bogdan Bogdanovic to try to match the high-powered Dallas offense. Luckily for the Kings, they also have known Mavs killer Trevor Ariza on the roster. Despite scoring less than 5 points per game this Season I’m sure Ariza will go off for about 5 threes. Regardless, with the way the Mavericks have been playing from the top of the roster to the bottom I expect someone to step up in Delon’s absence for another decisive win tonight at the AAC.

 

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