DALLAS — Nearly every time Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle called upon center-forward Brandan Wright during the 2012-13 season the young big man seemed to be ready.
Building off his first year in Dallas and appearing in a career-high 64 games while making 16 starts this season, Wright would take advantage of his time on the court while producing the best numbers of his young professional tenure. The long-armed big man averaged 8.5 points and 4.1 rebounds in 18.0 minutes an outing, connecting on 59.7 percent from the field in the process and adding 1.2 blocked shots at the other end of the floor. So it comes as no surprise that Carlisle and the Mavericks want the 25-year-old promising big man back as he enters free agency this offseason.
“Well, he’s a guy that we obviously like,” Carlisle said of Wright. “He’s gotten better both years that he’s been here, and he’s a guy that we have great interest in having back and I think that’s obvious. So, you know, that will be one of our priorities this summer. … I can’t speak to what the dynamics are going to be in terms of the finances and all those kinds of things, but he’s a guy that we’d like to have back.”
Showing a flair for the spectacular, Wright dazzled the Dallas faithful during his first two seasons in a Mavericks uniform with above-the-rim plays at both ends of the court. Now, however, the Mavs may look to bring the former North Carolina standout back in a larger role as fellow big men Chris Kaman and Elton Brand both also hit the open mark in free agency.
But, at just 210 pounds, can the lanky 6-foot-10 big man develop into an everyday starting center capable of lining up alongside to 11-time All-Star power forward Dirk Nowitzki? That remains to be seen.
“He’s great,” Nowitzki said of his young teammate. “I think he’s best when he uses his athleticism rolling to the rim and finishing around the rim. Usually, if somebody picks him up when he rolls, it opens up another shooter on the other side, so he’s been great. He’s been a threat for us in the paint all year and we need his athleticism out there at the big position.”
“The truth is Brandan is a very unique player. He fits in with us. He fits in with our personnel,” Carlisle added. “There’s some teams that he really plays great against. That’s been consistent for both years. There’s other teams where it’s tougher for him because of the physical strength of some of the bruising-type teams, but we like him. He has continued to get better.”