With the NBA’s restart fast approaching, it’s time to catch up on where Mavericks’ players stand after what will be more than four months between basketball games. With that in mind, Mavs.com will supply a series on each player on the roster, what they did before the break, and what they must do if the Mavericks are to make a deep run in the playoffs. Next up is Delon Wright.
The facts: The Mavericks knew what they were getting when they worked a sign-and-trade with Memphis for Delon Wright on July 8, 2019. Wright had torched the Mavericks for two triple-doubles in the final month of the 2018-19 season and they were convinced he could do a lot of things to help them win. Wright did not disappoint in his first season with the Mavericks. He has averaged 7.3 points, 4 rebounds and 3.4 assists in about 22 minutes per game. He has been very durable, playing in 65 of the 67 games so far. One of the most pleasant surprises, though, has been his 3-point shooting. He’s making 38.5 percent from beyond the arc after slipping below 30 percent last season, when he split time with Toronto before being traded to Memphis.
Contract status: He signed a three-year, $28-million deal last summer, guaranteeing that he will be paid through 2021-22, after which he will be an unrestricted free agent.
Pre-hiatus highlights: Wright proved himself quickly. He started two of the first three games of the season and in the one he didn’t, he had 20 points, seven rebounds, five steals and three assists in a seven-point win at New Orleans. The real beauty of Wright, though, came in his consistency. Pick out any 20-game stretch during the season, and his averages during those stretches pretty much match his season numbers. His standout game came in Oklahoma City in January when he had 14 points, 12 rebounds and four assists in 27 minutes off the bench in a 10-point win over the Thunder.
How he can help the Mavericks make a deep playoff run: With injuries to Jalen Brunson and Courtney Lee, Wright is going to be a major piece of the backcourt rotation. He may or may not start some games, but either way, he’s going to put in 20-plus minutes on a regular basis. And, as they say on the infomercials, but wait, there’s more. “The beauty of Delon is he can play a little one a little two, a little three,” president and general manager Donnie Nelson said. “He gives us a lot of flexibility.” Considering that the Mavericks will have to go with some smaller lineups during the course of the restart, expect to see Wright on the front line a fair bit. Given his stellar rebounding for his size, that should not be a problem. What Wright has to do as the playoffs draw near is be the defensive glue when he’s on the floor and stuff the stat sheet offensively. He can help the Mavericks in a lot of ways and doesn’t necessarily have to have the ball in his hands. Where Wright will be most helpful is if he can continue to knock down the 3-point shot like he has so far this season. He doesn’t shoot a lot of them, but when you make nearly four out of every 10, it’s a major weapon. That also opens up his slithering drives to the basket, which have been hard to stop ever since he got into the league. The Mavericks, plain and simple, need his tool box on the court.