Selecting 20th overall in the 2015 NBA Draft, the Toronto Raptors chose Delon Wright out of Utah.
After turning 23 earlier this year, the 2015 recipient of the Bob Cousy Award as America’s top point guard, was one of the older players in this year’s draft. His age, which ultimately was seen as a red flag to many teams, may be a blessing in disguise to Canada’s lone professional NBA team, as he is considered to be a more steady, NBA-ready player than his fellow draftees. With many youngsters with supposedly higher upside still on the board at number 20, such as Bobby Portis, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Kevon Looney, Wright will be expected to contribute right away behind the likes of All-Star Kyle Lowry.
Wright, standing at a solid -6 and weighing , put up averages of 14.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 2.1 steals in 35 games as a senior last year. The younger brother of Portland Trailblazer sharpshooter, Dorell Wright, provides the raptors with a variety of different options on offense, as he is a very capable ball distributor who uses his size to full effect. His true value, however, lies on the defensive end, where he puts his 6’6 frame and 8’6 standing reach to great use in disrupting smaller point guards. Combine those physical tools with great defensive instincts and a high motor, and Dwane Casey should be very excited for his team that struggled mightily with perimeter defense this year.
Delon’s defensive efforts were highly praised during his last two years at Utah, which saw him earn a spot on both the First Team All Pac-12 and Pac-12 All Defensive Team in his junior and senior years. His 2.1 steals in 2014-2015 and 2.5 in 2013-2014 highlight his ability to play the passing lanes effectively and in control.
At the moment, there are some knocks about his severely limited offensive game, which is a work in progress. As a junior at Utah he shot just 22% from 3 and although he leaped to a more respectable 35.6% last year, his fundamental form will need to be improved drastically. Add to the fact that the NBA 3-point arc is an extra further out than college hoops, and it’s easy to see opposing teams initially encouraging defenders to sag off in order to keep him out of the paint, where he uses his array of herky-jerky hesitation moves to create space for himself.
Graphic via raptorsrepublic
Given the Raptors’ long-term commitment to Brazilian projects Lucas “Bebe” Nogueira and 2014 selection, Bruno Caboclo, the pick makes more sense for a team that is seemingly in “win now” mode in a weak eastern conference. Additionally, after trading away Greivis Vasquez on draft night and the $6.4 million owed to him during the 2015-2016 season, the Raptors have taken a step to address their defensive issues after ranking 23rd in the association in defensive efficiency.
This selection looks to be a good fit for both Delon Wright and the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors look to be getting a player that fits their current defensive system and who doesn’t need much development time in Delon. While Wright, known to be a high character person and great teammate will have the opportunity to play for a system that compliments his natural game, while learning behind the likes of Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Cory Joseph and Terrence Ross.
Graphic via pac-12