Sixers player evaluation: Dorell Wright

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Sixers player evaluation: Dorell Wright

Dorell Wright

Position: Small forward

Status: Unrestricted free agent

Signature game of 2012-13
Wright played some of his best basketball toward the end of the year, posting double-digit points in each of the Sixers’ final five games (three of which were wins). His best overall outing, however, came in late December against the Grizzlies in Memphis. Wright scored a season-high 28 points, hitting 8 of 11 from the field (including five three-pointers to shoot a sizzling 72.7 percent from the field) and 7 of 8 free throws. Wright also added six rebounds and two blocks in the road win.

Wright in 2012-13
It was a tough year for Wright. When he was with the Warriors back in the 2010-11 season, he led the NBA in three-pointers made and attempted. And in two years with Golden State, he started all 143 games in which he appeared.

He wasn’t nearly as successful or valued with the Sixers. Wright started only eight of 79 games in his first season in Philadelphia. Wright shot 37.4 percent from three-point range, which was better than his career average of 36.7 percent. But his field goal percentage dipped to 39.6 percent, by far his worst mark over a full season since entering the NBA.

As a result, Wright’s minutes per game also dropped. He averaged 22.6 minutes, the least he’s played since his final season with the Miami Heat in 2009-10 when he started only one of 72 games.

“I call it the NBA. It’s a roller coaster,” Wright said in mid-March. “Sometimes there are going to be highs and sometimes there’s going to be lows. The thing about it is you beat the lows and try to have as many highs as possible. I understand it. I’ve been through a lot with ups and downs as far as playing time and my efficiency and things like that. So I just have to go out there and continue to play hard and whatever happens, happens.”

Wright’s efficiency rating was 161st in the NBA. While not great, it was 56 spots better than often-useless teammate Nick Young. There are several reasons for that, including Wright taking 1.6 fewer shots per game than Young (while averaging just 1.4 fewer points). Wright is also a better rebounder (he averaged 3.8 per game) and he plays some defense.

Prospectus
It wasn’t a good season for Wright. He certainly regressed. But there was a faction within the Sixers' organization that believed Wright underperformed because, at times, he was forgotten or marginalized.

As with others who have played for head coach Doug Collins, Wright periodically fell out of favor and ended up buried on the bench for long stretches of games. During one span from late-January to late-February, Wright played 16 or fewer minutes in 10 of 16 games. And in six of those outings, Wright played single-digit minutes or not at all.

Wright made $4.1 million on a one-year deal with the Sixers. It’s hard to imagine him commanding much more than that on the open market this offseason considering his unspectacular recent production. The question is whether Wright can return to form, or at least improve his shooting, if he’s afforded more consistent playing time under a new coach.

On Dorell Wright
“I’m going to continue to stay positive. I played for Pat Riley. He was always trying to test you on the mental approach to the game and made sure you stayed strong mentally.”

--Dorell Wright, March 12, 2013

Sixers free-agent fits: Point guards

Sixers free-agent fits: Point guards

Over the course of this week, we will look at the Sixers' free-agent possibilites at each position. First up is point guard.

Sixers point guards for 2016-17
T.J. McConnell (non-guaranteed, $874,636)

Kendall Marshall (non-guaranteed, $2,048,257)

Current PG situation
The Sixers' biggest hole is at the point guard spot. Brett Brown has deemed this position the most important on the court, yet it has been the most changing. 

Last season, the Sixers did not establish a consistent starting point guard until they re-acquired Ish Smith in December. Smith wasn't brought in as the long-term point guard of the future, though. He is an unrestricted free agent again this summer and should receive interest from other teams after a solid season stepping into the starting role. 

There are several young point guards on the market, but the Sixers would benefit the most from bringing in someone with veteran experience to be a leader on the court. While incoming rookie Ben Simmons can play point-forward, the team plans to start him off at the four spot and let him learn the NBA first before assigning him ball-handling duties. With that in mind, a good free-agent fit would be able to play off the ball when Simmons does run the floor. 

Of the current players, McConnell has developed into a backup option after emerging as the sleeper of last season's team. The Sixers would be getting a bargain with his contract value (see below). The sparingly-utilized Marshall has a non-guaranteed deal at just over $2 million for next season and the team could get more return spending that money elsewhere. 

Reach free agent
Mike Conley (unrestricted)

Even in spite of his injuries, Conley is the best point guard available in free agency. He averaged 15.3 points, 6.1 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 1.5 turnovers for the Grizzlies last season. Conley has a high basketball IQ and is playoff-tested. He will garner big money on the market, and the Sixers are not necessarily looking to break the bank this summer to fill the role. Conley could stay with the Grizzlies, who put together a Justin Timberlake-led video to express their interest in keeping him. He will turn 29 in October. 

Possible fits
Matthew Dellavedova (restricted, $1,434,095 qualifying offer)
Could there be another Australian on the Sixers next season? Brown, who coached there, is a fan of Dellavedova's game. Dellavedova, 25, averaged 7.5 points, 4.4 assists and 2.1 rebounds for the championship-winning Cavaliers. Dellavedova could have double value to the Sixers: he could run the floor and give Simmons a sense of familiarity being from Australia. 

Jeremy Lin (unrestricted)
Lin was a backup for the Hornets last season and could earn a paycheck this summer as a starter. He would like to find a long-term team, which may not fit into the Sixers' plans for the future. Lin, though, does have six years of experience and averaged 11.7 points, 3.0 assists and 3.2 rebounds mostly off the bench for the Hornets. 

Greivis Vasquez (unrestricted)
Vasquez's sixth season was cut short after only 23 games because of foot surgery last December. Coming off of injury, could he be available at a discount? When healthy, he is a high-energy ball handler. Vasquez averaged 5.7 points, 4.0 assists and 2.0 rebounds per game last season. 

Ben Simmons favorite to win Rookie of Year, Joel Embiid not far behind

Ben Simmons favorite to win Rookie of Year, Joel Embiid not far behind

Last week, the Sixers used the No. 1 overall pick to take Ben Simmons out of LSU. 

This week, Simmons is the favorite to be the NBA's Rookie of the Year in 2017, according to Bovada

Simmons, 6-10, 242 pounds, beat out Buddy Hield (11/2), Brandon Ingram (13/2), Kris Dunn (15/2) and Jamal Murray and Denzel Valentine (both 12/1) among the top six. 

Right after them? Joel Embiid. Embiid was the Sixers' third overall pick in 2014, but foot injuries haven't allowed him to play in either of his first two NBA seasons. Now 22, Embiid's odds to become Rookie of the Year are 14/1. 

The last Sixer to win Rookie of the Year was Michael Carter-Williams in 2013-14. He was the last since Allen Iverson in 1996-97. 

Here are this year's full Rookie of the Year odds from Bovada:  

Ben Simmons (PHI)

13/4

Buddy Hield (NO)

11/2

Brandon Ingram (LAL)  

13/2

Kris Dunn (MIN)    

15/2

Jamal Murray (DEN) 

12/1

Denzel Valentine (CHI) 

12/1

Joel Embiid (PHI) 

14/1

Wade Baldwin (MEM)

16/1

Marquese Chriss (PHO) 

16/1

Thon Maker (MIL)     

16/1

Taurean Prince (ATL)      

16/1

Dragan Bender (PHO)    

20/1

Jaylen Brown (BOS)

20/1

Brice Johnson (LAC)   

20/1

Caris LeVert (BKN)   

20/1

Malachi Richardson 

20/1

Jakob Poeltl (TOR)    

25/1

Domantas Sabonis (OKC) 

28/1

 

Cousin of Sixers' Ben Simmons killed in hit-and-run accident Saturday

Cousin of Sixers' Ben Simmons killed in hit-and-run accident Saturday

The cousin of Sixers No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons was killed in a hit-and-run accident early Saturday morning.

Zachary Simmons, 21, was struck by a black SUV around 3:30 a.m., CBS New York initially reported. Ben Simmons confirmed the death of his cousin on Twitter.

Zachary Simmons' mother, Monique Steel, said she was told by police that the driver was going at least 70 miles an hour. She also told CBS2 in New York that her son was out Friday for a friend's birthday and was celebrating the night before with his first cousin, Ben, following the NBA draft.

Investigators are analyzing pieces of the SUV and checking surveillance video in attempt to find the driver.

Ben Simmons, a native of Australia, has roots in New York where his father Dave was born.