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What Do The Raptors Do With Delon Wright?

It’s a question the Toronto Raptors have been able to conveniently ignore as last year’s 20th overall draft pick Delon Wright recovers from a shoulder injury incurred during NBA Summer League, but last year’s rookie point guard wasn’t a bust, so what does the team do when he gets back?

“I feel good,” Wright told Pro Bball Report. “Happy to be back getting some shots up and working out.

“(I’m) like a month away. Just taking it slowly so I can be ready when I get back.”

That month will go by very quickly and the way Wright finished last season suggests there isn’t much more he can get out of the NBA D-League beyond a conditioning stint.

In 15 games with the Mississauga Raptors 905 in 2015-16, Wright averaged 17.7 points on 53.6 percent shooting and 36 percent from three-point range, 5 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.6 blocks in 35.7 minutes.

The 6’5.5″ guard was able to use his height effectively to see the floor and take advantage of smaller guards, but more importantly, when he was finally given some run in the NBA to give Kyle Lowry a few days off in April, those D-League numbers held up.

In four games with Toronto in April, Wright averaged 14.3 points, on 53.8 percent shooting, 3.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1 steal and 0.8 blocks in 26.7 minutes and the Raptors won three of those games. While stats in April can be suspicious, one of those wins came against a Pacers team fighting for it’s playoff life and Wright put up a career high 19 points.

Wright is spending this last month of rehab and conditioning getting stronger. He’s going to be ready to play, if head coach Dwane Casey can find any minutes for him on a team that already has too many deserving players with too few minutes to go around.

“I’m just getting my arm stronger so when there is contact there won’t be any issues with it,” Wright said. “I’m just doing regular rehab stuff and starting to amp up my lifting. It’s no special program right now.”

And Wright believes he’ll pick back up right where he left off last year.

“Oh yeah definitely, definitely. It was an upper body injury,” Wright continued. “Nothing happened to my confidence. I don’t see not going back to what I was doing.

“I just have to get into actual game shape.”

Believe it, Wright will be back soon and he’ll be back as a player who in another program without two veteran point guards ahead of him would be playing in the NBA. Wright wasn’t a stretch pick in 2015.

There will still be a lot of season left when Wright returns and the Raptors will need a third string point guard just in case, but there is still an elephant in the room. Toronto has added undrafted point guard Fred VanVleet and the case for carrying two healthy third string guards is pretty weak. The question remains, what to do with Wright when he gets back?

Not to stir the pot, but Wright should be getting back just as the team is finally getting some real data about the likelihood of power forward/center Jared Sullinger’s return from injury for the second half of this season. If there is any doubt about Sullinger, the Raptors will be looking for trade bait to fill that hole before the trade deadline.

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.