Delon Wright will be a solid role player for contender
WARP Projection: 2.6 (ninth among players in top 100)
Comparables: Josh Howard (84.
, Francisco Garcia (83.0), Kent Bazemore (80.
, Arsalan Kazemi (80.2)
Strengths: 2P%, FTA%, Rebound%, Assist%, Steal%, Block%, PF%
Weaknesses: Usage, ShootingThe analytics perspective
After spending two years playing at the junior college level due to academics, Wright -- the younger brother of Portland Trail Blazers forward Dorell Wright -- developed into a prospect during two years at Utah, leading the Utes to the Sweet 16 as a senior.
No NCAA player in the draft has a better projected winning percentage than Wright (.531), thanks to his versatile skill set. He filled up the box score like nobody in the country, leading Utah in points, assists and steals while finishing second to 2016 draft prospect Jakob Poeltl in rebounds and blocks. At 6-foot-5, Wright is enormous for a point guard and comfortable playing in the paint, defensively. His long arms make him an ideal defender against modern point guards.
Wright's biggest weakness at the collegiate level was his difficulty taking over the game as a scorer. That doesn't figure to be a problem for him in the NBA, where he'll be a role player who is most valuable at the defensive end. But he needs to have the ball in his hands. While he improved his outside shooting as a senior, making 26 3-pointers at a 35.6 percent clip, he's not a real catch-and-shoot threat. Wright can get to the basket off the dribble -- he averaged more than six free throw attempts per 40 minutes and shot 63.3 percent from 2-point range as a junior before slipping to a still-good 55.4 percent as a senior. And he's happy to drive and set up teammates.
SCHOENE comes up with no good matches for Wright at the same age. I'd compare him to Evan Turner or Andre Iguodala offensively, and defensively he's much more like Iguodala than Turner.
-- Kevin PeltonThe scouting perspective
It's no coincidence that in Wright's two years in Utah, he led the Utes to a 47-21 record and a spot in the Sweet 16. In fact, there are few players in the country that contributed more to their teams' success than he did. How that impacts the opinion of NBA decision-makers will be determined in the coming weeks.
What stands out to me about the 6-foot-5 Wright is his overall basketball efficiency on both ends of the court.
Offensively, he is a big point guard who makes difficult passes look easy. He has great court vision and accuracy and that allows him to find teammates who don't expect to be open. And, although Wright dominated the ball, he took only 22 percent of the Utes' shots when he was on the court. That speaks to his unselfishness.
In addition to his passing, his shooting has improved in two years at Utah. He raised his 3-point percentage from 22 percent to 36 percent. And, overall, he made 52 percent of his shots from the floor. More encouraging for his NBA hopes is that he made 84 percent of his free throws, getting to the line 182 times this year. And, as a bonus, he finished 64 percent of his shots at the rim.
Having said all of that, an NBA team will be drafting Wright knowing that outside shooting will be his major weakness early in his career.
Wright's awareness, offensively, is not an accident. He grew up around the game as the brother of an NBA player. Competing against NBA players in offseasons in Los Angeles has fostered his basketball IQ.
Wright has great defensive instincts, both on and off the ball, as well. He can guard smaller point guards because of his his lateral quickness and his length. And while he has an average 6-foot-6 wingspan, he has active hands and great anticipation skills away from the ball as a help side defender. In fact, his 3.9 percent steal rate was 42nd in the country and his career 4.0 steal rate, 3.5 block rate and 15.0 defensive rebound rate bode well in that area.
While Wright will be penalized somewhat for being a senior and because he will turn 23 before June's draft, he could be one of the surprises of the draft. Although he has NBA size and athleticism, his greatest attribute may be what he contributes to winning.
-- Fran FraschillaThe front-office perspective
Wright got some bites on his draft stock after his junior year and flirted with declaring for the draft. Several teams late in the first round felt he was a sleeper. Wright decided to skip the draft, return for his senior year and improve his draft stock, and for the most part, he accomplished his mission.
While his senior year wasn't a marked improvement on his junior one (with the exception of some improved 3-point shooting) he helped Utah become a serious contender, played in some huge games against other NBA talent, and proved he belonged. His size and passing ability are his major calling cards. If he were a couple of years younger he'd be ranked much higher on our board.
"Of the point guards in this draft," one GM told ESPN, "He's the most likely to come in and play solid minutes off the bench for a good team. I love the way he handles himself on the floor. I don't see a superstar or anything, but as far as backup point guards go he has size, athleticism he doesn't turn the ball over and he can get to the basket and hit shots. He's going to be a very good get in the late first round."
Wright is in the No. 20 to No. 30 range right now in the draft.
-- Chad Ford