Brandan Wright spoke with us one-on-one about his return to the court after missing 23 games rehabbing his shoulder. Wright surprised many Mavs fans after hitting 19 points in his first game against the Milwaukee Bucks, then followed up his performance with great defensive effort against the Memphis Grizzlies. He talks candidly about the differences between last year’s team versus the current roster and even some insight on his North Carolina Tar Heels.
First of all Brandan, welcome back to the court! Your second game back, so how do you feel after your second game?
I feel a lot better than I did the first game. Physically I feel a lot better. That is going to be the trend, each and every day just feel better and better.
Were you surprised at all with your first game back and scoring 19 points? Did you feel that confident in your first game back?
I wasn’t surprised. I played to my strengths. Like I was telling those guys, this team is so unselfish. We have a lot of guys that can put the ball in the bucket, [so] its probably not going to be the same guys every night. We know Dirk is going to be pretty consistent. Monta is going to be pretty consistent and everybody else is going to fill in and do their part. We a lot of offensively talented players and we play well on defense so…
Do you see a big difference between this roster versus last year?
Well, we are winning more. We step on the court we feel like its a chance to win every game. Last year we had situations off the court with contracts and stuff like that. You can’t control that stuff. We know now that we have these guys going forward, that’s always a good feeling.
Would you feel comfortable being inserted in the starting lineup as a five versus a four maybe in a back-up role?
Like I said, whatever they want me to do. Starting, coming off the bench, I got to play and I got to play well. I will be one of the ones counted upon to do some good things for this team and push us to the playoffs.
I heard you say earlier that you feel that maybe you are two weeks away from being fully healthy. Is that the goal?
I think it is an accurate goal as far as conditioning and all that, but it takes a while to come in. Remember how long it took Dirk to get his legs back up under him. You sit out a while and it kind of takes it away, but I think its coming. We are doing a good job to make sure that I’m in the proper shape.
Coach [Carlisle] mentioned that he felt you have to play good defense if you want to get into the playoffs. Do you think this team defensively is going to be good enough to make it in the playoffs rather than what happened last season?
We prove it. Tonight we were really active. We got a lot of deflections on shots, we played the passing lanes well, crashed the boards, and we play hard and play together we will be fine.
What do you think about your Tar Heels this year?
Up and down. They have been playing up and down to the competition. They got to get it together. They will be fine. It’s early, but they three inexcusable losses and three huge wins so, we will see how it goes.
Wright and the Mavericks will take on the Toronto Raptors tonight at the AAC. Tip-off is at 7:30pm CST