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 look forward to results of Ben Simmons' CT scan Thursday

Sixers look forward to results of Ben Simmons' CT scan Thursday

CAMDEN, N.J. — Thursday is significant for the Sixers beyond the trade deadline. It is also the day of Ben Simmons' CT scan to evaluate how his right foot is healing.

"I feel like tomorrow at some point we're all going to be able to lay out a more genuine plan for him," Brett Brown said Wednesday. "I feel like we're going to be good to go with some greater news and a more advanced detail of his plans after this scan."

Once all parties involved assess the results, the team will provide an update, which may not be Thursday. Simmons has been sidelined all season after suffering a Jones fracture during the final scrimmage of training camp. 

On Wednesday, he went through his individual workout plan, which included five-on-none scripting with teammates.

"He's still getting a feel for all of us," Nerlens Noel said. "He's learning to throw it up to me, bounce pass to whoever. It's learning certain tendencies that'll make you start to feel more a part of the team."

The Sixers have not placed a timetable on Simmons' return. The first overall pick has not been cleared for full contact five-on-five practice, the next step in his recovery. Prior to the All-Star break, Brown said he expects Simmons will play at some point this season. He stands by that projection with 26 games remaining. 

"I personally would like to see him play this season. I don't backpedal from that," Brown said. "I think my comments are really very much influenced by his reciprocal desire to play this year, which we all respect. Everybody's got clandestine conspiracy theories on why he might not want to play. I know in my heart and speaking to him, he wants to get on a court and play basketball again.

"I hope he can do that, too. If for some reason he can't, we'll deal with it. But I think it would help him to play NBA basketball and get his competitive juices going again if the doctors point us in that direction."

Simmons' teammates are ready to welcome him into the mix when he is given the green light. Their limited glimpses into his talent have them eager for his debut.

"Unlimited potential," Noel said. "I think with Ben, the thing that makes him so special is his IQ for the game, a sixth sense on the court. Him being able to find little things that not very many 6-10 guys can find. I think that's going to propel his game and make him a special player in this league." 

Added Joel Embiid: "I'm excited ... I thought he was our best player in training camp."

Trade deadline looming, Sixers cherish what could be final day together

Trade deadline looming, Sixers cherish what could be final day together

CAMDEN, N.J. — The Sixers looked around the court on Wednesday and knew it could be their last practice all together.

The NBA trade deadline is 3 p.m. on Thursday. The Sixers are scheduled to practice that day, but who is there for it remains to be seen.

“Honestly, I’m scared. I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Joel Embiid said. “Hopefully I’m here and hopefully my teammates are here. We’ve been playing great basketball when we are healthy and we all play. Hopefully we keep the same group and you never know what can happen.”

The Sixers have stayed tight knit through losing, ups and downs and trade talks. In their ideal world, they would remain teammates for the rest of the season. In the basketball world, there is a strong possibility at least one of them will be moved.

“You’ve learned that you’re not confident on anything,” Brett Brown said when asked about having the same players after the deadline. “There’s nothing that would point to either my 16 years of experience in the league or my three previous trade situations here in Philadelphia that would make me say anything otherwise. We’ve maintained a very high level of transparency with my team. We talk freely. It doesn’t feel as dramatic perhaps as it might have in other years.”

Jahlil Okafor has been the focal point of trade discussions. The Sixers were close to a deal for him last week, to the point where they sat him out two games and did not send him to Charlotte. Okafor will keep his phone close as the deadline approaches.

“I did the best I can to just focus in with the guys [at practice], going over the plays and working on defense,” Okafor said. “But it was definitely on my mind that I could be out of here tomorrow.”

Okafor said he would not have hard feelings if a deal did not happen after being on the trading block. At the same time, he just wants to know what his NBA future holds.

“If the Sixers decide to keep me, I’ll be happy," he said. "I have amazing teammates that I love being with every day and I’ll go back to my everyday routine. If that’s here or somewhere else, I’m just ready for 3 o’clock to happen so I can continue with my career and start doing what I love to do, and that’s play basketball.”

The Sixers' trade talks, to this point, have centered around the bigs because of a logjam in the frontcourt. At the start of the season Nerlens Noel said the team had to make a change. Noel said he was not worried about the deadline and noted the Sixers' first practice after the All-Star break was upbeat, not anxious.

“It’s been such a long season with so many things that were said, so now at this point it’s whatever happens happens,” Noel said.

So who will stay and who will go? With the Sixers' roster in question, Embiid summed up the trade deadline in Embiid fashion.

“It’s business,” Embiid said. “Anything can happen. So you’ve got to trust the process, I guess.”