Dallas Mavericks: Delon Wright is the odd man out of the rotation

Dallas Mavericks Delon Wright (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Dallas Mavericks Delon Wright (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

Dallas Mavericks guard Delon Wright is the odd man out of the rotation

The Dallas Mavericks traded for Delon Wright in the summer of 2019. It came as good news in an otherwise inactive offseason. Wright had just produced two triple-double against the Mavs. The possibility of mixing the franchise cornerstone Luka Doncic with such a crafty veteran warranted hope for fans of No. 55.

The quiet positive play from Wright in Memphis naturally hovered below national NBA news. Also, his understated demeanor doesn’t inspire many in the MFFL nation. Nonetheless, things were looking up for the under-the-radar 28-year-old guard.

Early in the season, Wright rang true as an efficient player, albeit in a small sample size. Moreover, his heady play measured well in the plus-minus category with a plus-16.2 average in the first two months of the season. The three-year, $29-million deal seemed like a bargain.

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Delon Wright is the odd man out in the Dallas Mavericks rotation

However, despite an encouraging start, Wright’s inability to play off-ball with Luka Doncic on the floor eventually reared its head. Even without the utterly demoralizing playoff campaign, Wright fits in the offense next to Doncic like a toddler’s shirt on a Big and Tall mannequin.

Without entirely dooming the Doncic-Wright pairing, some lineups present Wright’s career as a Maverick with a lifeline. Cleaning the Glass indicates signs of hope with the two co-existing on the court. In 79 possesions, the two Mavericks scored a plus-11.4 differential in a lineup without Kristaps Porzingis.

Sometimes, fun is best in moderation. Although the two put up positive numbers, the shooting was abysmal, as indicated by a 47.7 effective field goal percentage. Once again, Wright isn’t a total liability on offense. Still, as long as Doncic is the man in Dallas, Wright can’t continue to reluctantly shoot spot-up jumpers.

If you take a glance at Wright’s 3-point shooting, you would think he is doing well from distance. Wright was 14 of 26 on corner threes during the regular season. However, his nearly nonexistent participation from that spot begs the question as to why he doesn’t attempt more. Only six percent of his shot attempts come from the most comfortable long-distance area in the game.

Even in a bright statistical area, the cloud of doubt follows. Wright isn’t a spot-up shooter, even if he mirages as one in rare moments. For Wright to excel with No. 77 on the court, he must take advantage of the openings from the inevitable double teams.

As the two shot-happy guards, Trey Burke and Seth Curry, flourish against the elite defense of the LA Clippers, Wright continues to fall into irrelevancy. With only 23 minutes played so far in the series, and the lack of shots made excluding free throws, the parasitic cloud of wary sticks to Wright like a bad reputation.

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle has high hopes for the reserved in nature Wright. At one point, the Mavericks all-time wins leader compared him to 2011 NBA champion point guard Jason Kidd. With respect to the resiliency of the currently struggling guard, there are at least three more games on the schedule to recover from a dreadful stretch of basketball.

Delon Wright is by no means a bad player, but fit matters. Unfortunately, Doncic and Wright don’t share enough positive possessions to justify forcing a circle peg into a square hole. If Wright continues to struggle as an off-ball player, fans can expect a trade involving the once considered advanced metric darling.

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