Delon Wright will tell you he’d prefer to pass the ball instead of shoot and head coach Dwane Casey obviously likes the young guard for his defense, but in this new Raptors offense, Wright is expected to score as well as do everything else and in keeping with the program, he has embraced the three-ball.
“They just don’t want us taking the two-point shot,” Wright told Pro Bball Report. “I don’t even attempt to shoot them. My mindset is three-pointer or a lay-up.
“With my nature being pass-first, I was passing up (three-point shots) a lot and they got on me about that. They want me to shot it more instead of passing.”
In his D-League rich and injury shortened first two seasons in Toronto, Wright only attempted 43 three-point shots in 54 NBA games. This year, however, he’s hoisted 125 threes in 57 games and he’s been knocking them down at an acceptable 36.8 percent. The 16 percent of his shots that he from three he took as a rookie is now almost up to 35 percent.
“My first year I wasn’t that comfortable because I was trying to fit into a role and I wasn’t comfortable with the position yet,” Wright said. “Now that I’ve been playing it the whole year, I’m comfortable shooting those shots and know where those shots are going to come from.”
Wright was a typical young guard coming out of college. He had a strong preference to drive when he did get the urge to score. It wasn’t easy, but Wright has bought into the Raptors new offense.
“I’m a driver, so teams try to pack the paint on me, so I have to be willing to take that open (three-point) shot,” Wright said. “It will free up the guys that are driving. I have to be willing to take that three-pointer.”
The impact of the three-point shot threat hasn’t just opened up driving lanes for others. It’s dramatically improved Wright’s ability to score from two as well. His two-point percentage has bumped up from 45.3 percent last year to 53.4 percent this year and he’ been finishing an impressive 65 percent of his shots at the basket. There’s nothing like the threat of a three-ball to open up a lane to the rim.
While the improvements haven’t always come in a straight line from the beginning of the season, in his last five games since coming back from a sore toe Wright has been hot from three, hitting on 47.1 percent of his 17 three-point attempts.
“He’s had an opportunity to score, making open shots, he’s being aggressive,” Casey responded to Pro Bball Report recently. “All those things he’s been doing and he’s doing a much better job.
“There’s nobody on our team that doesn’t have a green light to shoot. They know their shot.”
The Raptors new style of play has, sometimes grudgingly, made Wright and others on this team better players and it’s unlikely Toronto would currently be residing in first place if the change hadn’t happened.