The B.B. (Before Bynum) period of the NBA offseason were dark days in Philadelphia. To that point, the Sixers had made a plethora of head-scratching personnel decisions that lead anyone who added them all together to wonder what THE PLANTM was. About the only one of those moves that didn’t fall into this category was the acquisition of Dorell Wright from the Golden State Warriors. The price for the 6’9" swingman’s services was "The Bosnian Express", Edin Bavcic.
And oh Edin, we hardly knew ye. Getting a very solid rotational player with a friendly expiring contract like Wright for pretty much nothing is rather rare in today’s NBA. It’s a move that the Sixers should be applauded for pouncing on.
What Wright brings is a nice skillset to suit what the Sixers are trying to accomplish specifically as well as to combat the rest of the league in general. Now that the Sixers have Andrew Bynum in the fray, Wright’s catch-and-shoot three-point ability becomes that much more valuable. It will theoretically keep defenders away from doubling down on Bynum and give ball-handlers Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner the space they need to operate at a high level. These catch-and-shoot guys really are the magic elixir, huh?
Wright also bolsters the Sixers in the league-wide arms race to be versatile defensively and win the three-point line. Last year’s NBA Finals showed where the NBA is headed. The series was between two teams who generally played small and loaded up with versatile defenders who could easily switch and three-point shooters that made defenses pay if they paid too much attention to their stars.
The Sixers will build differently than those two teams, around a star whose domain is down low, but the philosophy is still the same. If the team wants to be as good as people think they will be, then a guy like Wright is going to be extremely useful in the playoffs.
As for Wright’s role during the regular season? Remember in the movie Blue Chips when Coach Pete Bell (played in an Oscar-worthy performance by Nick Nolte) is giving the pregame speech before the game against Indiana? He tells the white shooter from Indiana (Cliché Police!), Ricky Roe, that he can "put it up from wherever he wants." As long as "wherever" is from behind the three-point line, Doug Collins should have the same exact attitude with Dorell Wright, Swaggy, and J-Rich in hopes of them being the Sixers’ version of Ricky.
As a matter of fact, the Sixers should really follow the Western University Model laid out very clearly in the movie. They have their Neon in Bynum. Hopefully Jrue or Evan can be Butch with the loser having to settle for Tony (because he failed TV, even if it’s a hard class). All Dorell needs to be is a part of The Ricky Triumvirate.
(Oh yeah, and in this scenario, Spencer Hawes would be Lurch from Celtic Pride).
Luckily for the Sixers, Dorell has experience in that role, getting to hoist plenty of shots from behind the arc during his time in The East Bay. Two years ago, he became a surprise fantasy dynamo in taking and making the most threes in the league (the Sixers have the number two guy on both lists as well in Richardson. Hooray threes!). Last season his playing time decreased and his shooting percentages dropped, but his efficiency stayed solid. With the Warriors smitten with Brandon Rush and having drafted Harrison Barnes, they felt Wright was expendable.
I don’t confess to know as much about Wright’s defense, but it has been described as passive by many observers. According to 82games.com, small forwards had their way with him (17.9 PER) and the Warriors were better off defensively when Wright was off the floor than with him on it. With his length and Doug Collins’ strong suit being his ability to squeeze the most out of his defense since he was in Philly, it’s probably fine to be fairly optimistic for some sort of improvement in that area. Plus, wouldn’t it just be swell if we are all bombarded with a bunch of "It was all Marc Jackson’s Fault" stories if Wright reverts back to 2010 form?
His teammates are already reportedly taking a liking to him, and the media surely will follow. Wright is a popular dude all around, and that bodes well for his tenure with the Sixers. As much as you heard all the "This town is going to love Nocioni and his blue collar style" stories a few years back, the laid back Wright is going to do much better here. Armed with a friendly personality, a great relationship with both the community and media, and a three-point shot, Philly is going to take a liking to this guy. Not to mention he’s already making unprovoked crazy proclamations that back up his new teammates! What can’t this guy do?
And if the Sixers see teams like Miami or Boston in the playoffs, this guy could really help.
Best Case Scenario: .570 TS%, .530 eFG%, 15 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists. Playing with a dominant big man for the first time in his career as a rotation player, Wright fills Lou Williams’ role as super-sub perfectly and hyper-efficiently. Hoists a healthy amount of threes, which are the best looks of his career, and cashes in on them.
Worst Case Scenario: .530 TS%, .500 eFG%, 8 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.0 assists. The beauty of Wright is a relatively high floor, as he’s consistently been a pretty efficient player. In this case, his shooting takes a dip for whatever reason and he becomes nothing more than an 8th man.
Reasonable: .550 TS%, .520 eFG%, 12 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists. He plays to his capabilities and is a solid cog in a very good bench unit.