I love looking towards the future. I find living in the past too difficult to deal with.
So I encourage all you heavy-hearted Celtics fans to move on with me, because our future lies in first round draft picks and Jared Sullinger. (Wow, that was not convincing)
Over the past two days, I have been browsing comments on Twitter and Facebook and am constantly seeing things like, "we got nothing" or "we got ripped off." However, the Celtics actually received a decent group of guys and some draft picks, and when you think about the likeliness of Rondo re-signing had he stayed until the summer, this group is not as bad as everyone thinks. And I think one of them is a stand out.
Brandan Wright has been a behind the scenes star for the Dallas Mavericks for the past few years. He plays just under 20 minutes per game and his box score stats don't tell a great story, but he is one of the most efficient players in the NBA in his floor time allotted.
A brief history
Wright was drafted 8th overall out of UNC and was traded to the Golden State Warriors on draft night. At UNC, Wright showed lots of promise, winning ACC tournament MVP and ACC Rookie of the Year, however, his early NBA career did not reflect his college days. He played with a high IQ but did not get enough time to truly contribute. That seemed to be the case for Brandan Wright...until he found Rick Carlisle. Wright was signed by Dallas in 2011, and since then, his career has taken off. For the past few seasons, Wright has been a vital part of the Mavs offense. He is no spark plug, he is no rim protector, but he knows how to play the game and that goes a long way.
What can we expect from Wright?
One of the things that surprises most people is that Brandan Wright is sooooooooooooooo efficient. He currently ranks 6th in PER, topping LeBron James, Chris Paul, and James Harden among others. That is just one testament to Wright's production in a limited role.
Wright currently leads the league in field goal percentage with an incredible 75%. He plays most of his offense inside the paint, above the rim, off of alley-oops, and through put backs.
In his 13-14 (he shot 67.7%) shot chart, it is clear to see that Wright rarely ventures outside his comfort zone. He is smart with his shots and plays to his strengths. He has had some incredible dunks which prove his athleticism. His ability to play inside has been improving because of Dirk Nowitzki's range. Dirk is able to space the floor for Wright to work inside. That is why I am so excited for this guy. Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger can both draw their defenders out, which would translate to a bigger work space for Wright.
Defensively, Wright is not as exciting. He has certainly progressed, but he is way too skinny to play center and body up bigger sized power forwards. He is quick and agile and can stay in front of his man, but he will not contribute to the Celtics' lack of rim protection. He ranks 11th in total blocks, with 42, but that is due to his athleticism and his help defense. His blocks do make for some pretty sick highlight videos.
In a small role, Wright ranked 11th in offensive win shared and 3rd in win shares per 48-according to basketball-reference. Now that there is no Dirk in his way, Wright has the chance to play a larger role on a losing team. Will he be stuffed into the starting lineup? No. But he will be a HUGE help off the bench and has the skill to turn an offense around.
Wright will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, and there is no word out on whether Boston plans on keeping him around. However, he is just 27 and would not be too expensive. There is a ton of upside with this guy and it will be interesting to see how Brad Stevens handles his minutes.
Although this is a tough time for Boston, I advise you to look forward and appreciate what we've got.