Neil Olshey and the Portland Trail Blazers, quietly, had one of the better offseasons last year.
They were able to bring in Robin Lopez, Thomas Robinson and Dorell Wright via free agency or trades without giving up any viable assets. Lopez turned out to be an amazing find and Robinson gave us glimpses of greatness that reminded us why he was taken with a top-five pick in the NBA draft. Dorell Wright, however, was an all-out disaster and really there’s no other way to put it.
Wright was brought in to provide depth on a bench that sorely needed it after finishing last in bench production during the 2012-13 season (scoring only 18.5 points per game). Wright was going to add some experience and shooting off Portland’s bench and provide some scoring punch at the same time. In 2013-14, Portland still finished last in the NBA in bench production, however they did improve to 23.6 points per game.
I don’t want to insinuate that Wright is the sole reason for them finishing last yet again, but he failed to do his part that’s for sure.
To be fair to Wright he averaged his lowest minutes per game (14.5) since the 2008-09 season, but even in those minutes he was quite dismal. He finished the year with 68 appearances and 13 games started — all while LaMarcus Aldridge was out injured — and averaged 5.0 points and 2.8 rebounds and only managed to shoot 37.4 percent overall, and an even more disappointing 34.2 percent from 3-point range (his lowest mark since the 2006-07 season).
When the sole reason for you being on the roster is to come in the game and make shots and you fail to do so, it can only be noted as a disappointing year. Wright only made 69 3-pointers, which was his lowest total since 2009-10, which was subsequently the year before he burst onto the scene for Golden State and led the league in 3-pointers made.
Here’s my issue when we look at Dorell Wright — he has never been a great shooter. He had one season where he led the league in 3-pointers made and then people all of a sudden dubbed him the next great outside shooter and the whole thing was a farce. Case in point, I mentioned that in 2010-11 he led the NBA with 194 made 3-pointers; however he only shot 37.6 percent on those shots. The league average from distance that season was 35.8 percent, so Wright shot less than 2 percent better than league average and led the league in made 3s. How? He shot a TON of them!
That shot chart tells us all we need to know about Wright. He’s a volume shooter and if he doesn’t get a lot of looks, then he is not going to produce. His career 3-point percentage is 36.4 and now since he had one decent season our expectations rise through the roof. Dorell can be a solid rotational player, nothing more, and on this Blazer team I’m not even sure he can do that much.
Next season is the last of a two-year deal and Wright will be making $3.15 million. He will probably play about the same, or maybe even less, due to increased playing time for the younger players and then he will be on his way. I hope this didn’t come off as a bash Dorell Wright type of read, but I simply wanted to set the proper expectations for a player that fans have set the bar too high for.
I hope he proves me wrong, but I just don’t see it happening.