Player of the Week: Brandan Wright

Wright Lob Slam

Brandan Wright gets the lob slam from Devin Harris.

Brandan Wright continued his ridiculously hot start to the season this week. The backup big man has reached double-figures in seven consecutive games and eight of the last night. Factoring in last night’s loss in Houston, the Mavs are now 9-1 on the season when Wright scores 10 or more in a game. The statistical savant also recorded his first double-double of the season last night, pouring in 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting and grabbing 11 boards.

Wright has simply been phenomenal this season. He’s scoring 0.8 points per halfcourt touch right now, meaning every two times he touches the ball, he’s scoring 1.6 points. That’s an outrageous clip and only one player in the NBA who plays more than two minutes per game (Denver’s JaVale McGee) averages more points per touch. However, even he plays six fewer minutes per game than Wright and receives eight fewer touches per game. There really is no one like Wright.

Wright’s Week in Numbers
12.5 PPG 80.8 FG% (led team) 5.8 RPG 1.3 BPG 1.3 SPG 123.4 Offensive Rating 23.6 Net Rating

His 78.5 field goal percentage leads the league and would be the highest of all-time by a wide margin. Anthony Davis is the only player with a PER higher than Wright’s 31.1 (30 is considered extraordinary), per Basketball-Reference. His 161.1 offensive rating is 22.5 points higher than second-place Courtney Lee’s 138.5 and he’s worth more win shares per 48 minutes this season than anyone in the NBA.

Drive And Find

Jose Barea drives and finds Brandan Wright for the alley-oop slam.

You could go on and on about a player like him because he truly is one-of-a-kind. For a player who plays relatively few minutes — only 18.9 per game, though it’s a career-high — to be worth that many win shares and have a PER that high is mind-boggling. Stats like PER favor heavy-minute players because the stat factors in overall production into the equation. This means Wright makes the most of his minutes when he’s on the floor — even more surprising when you consider his usage rate is only eighth-highest on the team. He finds ways to make an impact off the ball.

If Wright can maintain even 95 percent of his efficiency and productivity for the rest of the season, he’s going to have one of the most outstanding statistical season in league history.

STAT OF THE WEEK6

Last night’s defeat in Houston ended a six-game winning streak, the Mavs’ longest of the season and best overall since the 2011-12 season. You have to go back to the 2010-11 season to find the last time Dallas won six or more in a row at least twice in a season — at one point that season, the Mavs won 18 of 19 games.

The next six are going to be tough, but the six on the other side are going to be even more difficult. Dallas will play Indiana and New York at home next week before going on a four-game trip that will take the team through Toronto, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Milwaukee. Three of those teams are .500 or better and Toronto has the best record in basketball. Following that run, Dallas will play Phoenix, Milwaukee again, Memphis, New Orleans, Golden State, and New York again. The Mavs have plenty of games against playoff-worthy foes approaching, which means there are bound to be some really close, entertaining contests to come in the near future — similar to the games we saw against Washington and Houston this past week.

The Mavs will have to play some outstanding ball to win six straight during the next 12, but anything is possible. The Mavs have lost four games this season but have been in the lead toward the end in two of those games. You’ll go crazy playing this game, but their record is that close to 12-2. Learning to win in the clutch is something that takes time for teams with tons of new players, but unfortunately in the West you don’t have a lot of time to figure stuff out. The Mavs are going to be tested during the next month, and the onus is on them to turn close games into wins. That’s how winning streaks are born, and that’s how contenders are made.