For the next addition of Blaze to Glory, I’ll be discussing another newcomer to the Blazers, Dorell Wright. The nine-year veteran has played for three other teams before signing with the Blazers this off-season. He played six years for the Miami Heat, two for the Golden State Warriors and one for the Philadelphia 76ers.
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Over the course of his career he (much like Earl Watson) hasn’t been the star of his team. Only twice has he started every game he played, the two years he was with Golden State. However, during the 2011-2012 season he only played in 61 games. For his career he averages 24 to 25 minutes a game. Over the last4 seasons he has migrated to behind the 3-point line. Wright is a career 36.7% shooter from beyond the arc and that skill alone is a reason the Blazers pursued him. He also serves as a solid Free Throw shooter at 81.1% from the line.
You can expect to see him at the end of tight games in almost any situation. Because of his ability to shoot Free Throws he can be used when the other team is going to foul to get back in the game. Also, if the Blazers are trailing he can be used to shoot threes to get them back in the contest. Last year Wright shot 37% from three and 85% from the charity stripe.
He scores about 9.3 points per game. His career high PPG average was in 2010-2011 when he started all 82 games for the Warriors with 16.4 PPG. Last year he played in 79 games playing only 22.6 minutes a game, but he managed to average 9.2 PPG. Several positives about Wright include his 3.8 rebounds per game and 2 assists per game from last year. He shows great promise and poise to be the guy right behind Nicolas Batum.
One of Wright’s best attributes is that he doesn’t turn the ball over. Throughout his career he has never averaged more than 1.6 TO per game. Along with turnovers, Wright doesn’t foul (or at least doesn’t get called for it) much because his career average is 1.6 fouls a game.
Now putting stats aside, you need to look at this Blazers roster closely. Stotts has a lot of options at the SF and SG position. Wright is listed on ESPN as a SF, but he is a F-G on the Blazers website. Wright will likely beat out Victor Claver and Allen Crabbe for the back-up SF position. Claver will have to work extremely hard to beat out Wright who is a proven starter and reserve player in the NBA.
One thing Wright has on his side that Watson doesn’t is age. Wright is the same age as LaMarcus Aldridge, but he just has more miles on him. After not having much of a bench at all last year, the Blazers have a fortified bench full of players who can slide in nicely. We’ll just have to see if coach Stotts wants to go away from his batch of young guys who are also looking to prove themselves.
All in all, Wright could be a huge contributor or he could be stuck playing second fiddle to Victor Claver. However, the more likely scenario is that he will back-up Batum and Claver will have to unseat him in the coming year(s). Wright has two years on his deal, that gives him time to prove he could help the Blazers long term or show that he isn’t what they hoped he’d be.
Personally, I think Wright will win the job as back-up SF and he’ll be one of the first people off the bench. The Blazers need this because of the new(ish) physical basketball Nic Batum was trying to show off last year. If Batum gets into foul trouble or gets hurt, the Blazers have Wright so they won’t miss a beat.