It did not take Brandan Wright a great deal of time to remind Dallas fans how important he can be to the Mavericks team when he is healthy. Wright made his debut on Dec. 13th against the Milwaukee Bucks and he was stellar from the minute he took the court. Wright finished the game with 19 points and six rebounds in only 18 minutes of action. Wright hit nine of his ten shots and looked surprisingly comfortable on the court. Dallas had been eager to get the athletic, shot-blocking big man in their lineup and he delivered immediate results in his season debut.
Wright sustained a small fracture to his left shoulder while practicing with the team in October and missed the Mavericks first 23 games. Dallas has been getting by with a combination of Samuel Dalembert, DeJuan Blair and Bernard James at the center position for the first quarter of the season.
What Brandan Wright brings
Head coach Rick Carlisle has done a great job working with the big men that he has had available but the Mavericks are in need of a big man with Wright’s attributes. With a healthy Brandan Wright, Dallas has three different big men they will utilize depending on the matchup or each players performance.
While Wright is more slightly built that DeJuan Blair, and shorter than Samuel Dalembert, he brings a much needed element of athleticism and scoring ability around the basket. Wright is also an excellent weak-side defender who can help clean up defensive mistakes around the basket with his shot blocking abilities.
Wright could not have timed his return better for the Mavericks. Opening night center Samuel Dalembert has struggled of late and his minutes have been drastically reduced. Dalembert’s recent play would be more of an issue if Wright had not returned to the team.
Three’s a crowd?
With three players vying for time at the center position there was concern regarding the way that head coach Rick Carlisle would distribute the minutes among his big men. Fortunately, Carlisle does not see it that way. “It’s the kind of problem you want. We got a lot of guys that can help. We’ll keep talking to all of our guys and make sure they’re always ready.”
While it is true the Mavericks may lack a true center, Brandan Wright’s addition to the team provides Dallas with a versatile trio in the paint. Wright has improved in each of his two previous seasons in Dallas and if he continues to progress he could find himself playing significant minutes for a team with realistic playoff aspirations.