Why Delon Wright Has the Most Complete Game in College Basketball

Unless you are an avid Pac-12 follower, chances are that Utah’s Delon Wright was probably the best college basketball player you didn’t hear about last year. Don’t expect him to fly under the radar this time around, however, as Wright is poised to have a huge senior season thanks to his array of arsenals on the court.

Wright spent the first two years of his collegiate career at a junior college before making the transfer to Larry Krystkowiak’s team. In the 33 games he played for the Utes, Wright averaged 15.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 2.5 steals and 1.3 blocks, according to Sports-Reference.com.

These video game-like numbers earned Wright a Pac-12 All-Conference honor, making him the first player to accomplish such a feat in Utah’s program history, and his defensive efforts earned him a spot on the Pac-12 All-Defensive First Team as well.

Among all returning players for the 2014-15 season, Wright also leads the pack in the win-shares column (based on last season) sorted by Sports-Reference.com.

 

Top Returning Players in 2014-15
Name School PPG RPG APG Win Shares
Delon Wright Utah 15.5 6.8 5.3 7.3
Fred VanFleet Wichita St. 11.6 3.9 5.4 7.2
Jacob Parker S.F. Austin 14.2 7.1 2.0 6.6
Montrezl Harrell Louisville 14.0 8.4 1.2 6.4
Frank Kaminsky Wisconsin 13.9 6.3 1.3 6.2
Ron Baker Wichita St. 13.1 3.8 3.1 6.1
Keifer Sykes Green Bay 20.3 4.4 4.9 6.1
Michael Frazier Florida 12.4 3.5 1.1 6.0
Malcolm Brogdon Virginia 12.7 5.4 2.7 6.0
R.J. Hunter Georgia St. 18.3 4.6 1.7 5.9

 

One of the reasons to why Wright’s game is so versatile is because of his size. At 6’5″, Wright often causes mismatches at the combo guard position for the Utes.

He defends his position and reads passes well, as indicated by his steals average that was ranked No. 8 in the country last year. What stands out, however, is his ability to provide help defense despite being a perimeter player, as shown at the 1:10 and 1:38 marks in the video below.

On the offensive end, Wright possesses above-average ball-handling skills, and his height allows him to have a better court vision as well.

If you add in the fact that Wright draws plenty of attention from the opposing defense, then you usually have plays resulting like this.

When Wright decides to score on his own, however, he becomes much more dangerous.

Wright shot an impressive 63.3 percent on two-pointers last season, and his ability to get to the basket was a major factor in that.

Just by judging from the eye test, Wright does not have blazing speed to blow defenders by. What he does have, however, is a plethora of dribble-penetrating moves that primarily include hesitations and Eurostep layups that would make the likes of Manu Ginobili and James Harden proud.

Wright’s body control and ability to finish in traffic allows him to attack the basket at ease, and when he does draw contact from the defenders, he makes sure they pay for their mistakes. On an average of 5.8 attempts from the charity stripe last year, Wright shot 79.3 percent and averaged 4.6 points there alone.

If there is one downside in his offensive game, it would be the perimeter shooting. With a 22.2 shooting percent from downtown last season, Wright was often dared by the opposing teams to shoot the ball. However, with just 1.6 attempts from beyond the arc per game, it wasn’t as if Wright was giving away plenty of possessions by hitting the brick.

For a player of his caliber, you would have to believe that the three-point shooting was one of his focal points during the offseason, and that was exactly the case when he spoke with Raphielle Johnson of CollegeBasketballTalk.

That’s the main thing I need to work on,” Wright said. “I’ve been shooting a lot of shots in the gym, and I’m trying to work on my form, release and confidence [in taking those shots]. A lot of teams packed the lane against me because they knew I like to drive to the basket. They gave me the outside shot and I wasn’t comfortable with it. So I feel that if I can knock those shots down, it will open up my game and open up the game for the entire team.

Apparently there were signs of Wright’s work paying off in Utah’s team scrimmage on Tuesday, according to The Salt Lake Tribune‘s Matthew Piper.

If the outside shooting indeed becomes another addition to Wright’s game, then one can only imagine how much better of a player he can be for the upcoming season.

Utah has not made an appearance in the NCAA tournament since 2009 and fell to Saint Mary in the first round of the NIT last year. But the Utes will feature many returning players and look for Wright to take them further this season with an All-American campaign.

 

Honorable Mentions

Frank Kaminsky - Wisconsin

Fred VanFleet - Wichita State

Bobby Portis - Arkansas

Marcus Paige - North Carolina

Georges Niang - Iowa State

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NBA Draft Expert’s Notebook: Meet Delon Wright, the Next Big 2015 Prospect

Delon Wright was good last year—the kind of good that put him on NBA radars despite spending the previous two years in junior college. Wright earned scouts’ attention. And this year, I’m expecting him to keep it and ultimately convert it into first-round dollars.

The younger brother of 10-year NBA veteran Dorell, Delon seemingly came out of nowhere as an impact junior at Utah. He got the occasional national shoutout last season. And chances are if you’re a hardcore draft fan or regular Pac-12 viewer, you’re pretty familiar with Wright’s game. But for the most part, he still flies a bit below the radar.

I’d be willing to bet he doesn’t last down there for long—with Utah expected to compete for a postseason bid, the spotlight and microphones should naturally start shifting Wright’s way.

Regardless, the potential he flashed in his first year on the job in Division I basketball is worthy of examination. Wright put up monster numbers, both in terms of production and efficiency, while showcasing some special physical tools for a point guard.

At 6’5″, he’s got that standout size that helps drive the mismatch he presents at the point guard position on both ends of the floor. And this kid is smooth and elastic. He reminds me of Gumby out there, with the ability to twist and contort his body to fit through tight seams and windows.

Wright performs well on the eye test, from an athletic and measurement standpoint. His type of height and elusiveness allows a ball-handler of his skill to play to his upside.

Wright averaged 5.3 assists a game last season while being used on just 21.4 percent of his possessions (in comparison, guys like Elfrid Payton and Shabazz Napier, who each averaged between five and six assists, had usage rates last year of over 27 percent). He sets up teammates from multiple spots and angles on the floor, whether he’s running a pick-and-roll, attacking from the wing or pushing the break.

Wright just has some tantalizing change-of-direction shiftiness and slick playmaking instincts. He’s not the quickest or most explosive, but he finds ways to get to his spots on the floor, particularly with that nasty hesitation dribble.

He finished his junior year with a decent 1.96 pure point rating (weighs assists and turnovers relative to each other in a per-minute form, per sports-reference.com), which ranks fifth amongst DraftExpress‘ top 100 point guards. Wright isn’t your traditional facilitator, as he even played off the ball occasionally at Utah, but his feel for the game as a passing playmaker has looked pretty on point. 

He generated some nice buzz for himself this summer at the LeBron James Nike Skills Academy, where many of the top players in the country work out through invitation only. 

As a scorer, Wright is as crafty as they come. He averaged 15.5 points a game, and just about all of them came within 12-15 feet from the hoop.

You can’t even appreciate how good he was inside the arc without mentioning his glaring weakness first. Wright poses as a non-threat from long range. He hit just 12 three-pointers last year and shot just 22.2 percent. With defenses sagging back, giving up the jumper and looking to take away the drive, Wright still managed to shoot a whopping 63.3 on two-point field goals. 

Wright spoke with Raphielle Johnson of CollegeBasketballTalk regarding his shooting stroke:

That’s the main thing I need to work on. I’ve been shooting a lot of shots in the gym, and I’m trying to work on my form, release and confidence [in taking those shots]. A lot of teams packed the lane against me because they knew I like to drive to the basket. They gave me the outside shot and I wasn’t comfortable with it. So I feel that if I can knock those shots down, it will open up my game and open up the game for the entire team.

Usually you see forwards or big men lead their conference in field-goal percentage, which Wright did at 56.1 percent—not point guards. Granted, a lot of Wright’s offense comes in transition, which isn’t by mistake, but his efficiency is still pretty ridiculous. 

In the half court, he’s a magician in the lane—one of those playmakers capable of improvising on the fly and inventing new ways to create and finish.

Hoop-Math had him down for shooting a remarkable 71.7 percent at the rim last season. Scoop shots, flips, reverses, floaters, lay-ups through contact, slams above the rim—Wright has a deep bag of tricks and sharp sense for when to use each.

His body control is terrific, from his Eurosteps to his acrobatic finishes on the move.

But only three quarters of Wright’s sales pitch to the pros will center around his offensive game. His final point, the one that could ultimately hook a general manager selecting early in next year’s draft, focuses on the defensive impact he’s made and tools he’s got for the future. 

Wright ranked No. 4 in the country last season in defensive win shares, per sports-reference.com. He racked up 2.5 steals and 1.3 blocks a game.

With quick hands, long arms and the instincts to anticipate and react, Wright can be awfully disruptive. 

And he also rebounds extremely well for his position, pulling in 6.8 (5.1 defensive) a game, thanks to a strong nose for the ball and a willingness to go after it. 

From his offensive prowess to his presence on the boards and defensive potential, Wright brings a fairly complete package to the table—except for that jumper, which is going to be a talking point amongst scouts whenever he suits up. 

The fact that he’ll be 23 years old by the 2015 draft doesn’t help. We’ve seen big point guards that can’t shoot get taken in the lottery before, like Michael Carter-Williams and Elfrid Payton, but they entered the draft at much younger ages (20). Their current NBA coaches and general managers will likely be disappointed if their shooting doesn’t improve by the time their 23. 

Already 22, time isn’t exactly on Wright’s side. 

But there’s reason to believe—he has looked capable in the mid-range, and he did sink 79.3 percent of his 193 free-throw attempts. 

John Pudner, a political advisor and creator of ValueAddBasketball.com who’s consulted NBA general managers in the past, developed a statistic that measures each college players’ overall value. Last year, his formula pegged Shabazz Napier as the highest-rated player. And now Pudner has Wright projected to follow in his footsteps as the most valuable in the country

Look for Wright to bring Utah to the national stage in 2015, and in turn, break through as a rising NBA prospect in draft conversations. 

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Blazers’ Dorell Wright Shows off Outstanding Wedding Photos

Portland Trail Blazers small forward Dorell Wright tied the knot on Saturday, and before he did, he decided to get some epic wedding photos taken.

Along with the Instagram post above, Wright provided another great one of him and his wife.

If you’re going to get married, you might as well do it in style.

[Instagram]

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Wright plays to impress in last day of 10-day contract with Bucks

In the final day of his 10-day contract with the Milwaukee Bucks, Chris Wright finally got a chance to show the team what he can do in game action.
Wright played 26 minutes in Milwaukee’s 124-107 blowout loss to Sacramento on Sunday, scoring nine points with four rebounds and three assists. In a game in which the Bucks were never in and trailed by as many as 40, Wright was one of the few players who brought energy and effort.
“I like what I saw,” Bucks coach Larry Drew said. “We were just in there talking about it. Watching Chris play, he really gives us something that we don’t have.”
Signed on March 14, the former University of Dayton star had appeared in just one game with the Bucks prior to Sunday. Wright played seven minutes and scored three points in a 115-94 loss in New York on March 15.
The 6-foot-9 forward played in 24 games with Golden State in the 2011-12 season, averaging 2.9 points and 1.9 rebounds over 7.8 minutes per game. Wright only had played more than 26 minutes i

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Bucks sign forward Wright to 10-day contract (Yahoo Sports)

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Milwaukee Bucks have signed free-agent forward Chris Wright to a 10-day contract.

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Milwaukee beats Wright St 69-63 for Horizon title (Yahoo Sports)

Milwaukee's Cody Whichmann, right, blocks a shot by Wright State's Tavares Sledge during the Horizon League men's tournament championship, Tuesday, March 11, 2014, in Dayton, Ohio. (AP Photo/The Dayton Daily News, Ty Greenlees)

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — Picked to finish last in the Horizon League’s preseason poll.


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Jay Wright psyched about new Big East: ‘All teams have great following’

Jay Wright psyched about new Big East: “All teams have great following”

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Wright earns 400th win, Villanova tops Seton Hall (Yahoo Sports)

Villanova coach Jay Wright shouts during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Seton Hall, Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, in Villanova, Pa. Villanova won 70-53. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)

VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP) — Jay Wright walked off the court to Villanova students chanting ”400! 400!” at the popular coach.


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Wright State’s Jerran Young Throws Down Monster Slam

Wright State senior forward Jerran Young decided to make a statement against the Green Bay Phoenix on January 17.

Watch the video above as Young cuts between two defenders and then finishes the play off with a monster slam with contact at the rim.

Heading into this game, the Raiders were 11-8 and 3-1 in the Horizon League, looking to take the top spot in the conference away from Green Bay.

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Coach’s Corner: Villanova’s Jay Wright

The Wildcats, at 14-1, have been the class of the new Big East this season.

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