Front offices searching for experience in the NBA Draft need to look no further than Delon Wright.
At 23 he's one of the oldest players in this year's class, and he's had the unique experience of being around the NBA scene while watching his brother, Dorell, come up through the league as an 11-year role player. It's that experience of already knowing what to expect once he hears his name called on June 25, as well as his four seasons of collegiate basketball that make him believe he'll be able to step in right away and contribute to an NBA team.
As collegiate prospects became starstruck at last night's NBA Draft Combine working out in front of and interviewing with the likes of Hall of Famers Larry Bird, Pat Riley and others, it was something Wright was already accustomed to. His brother began his career in Miami, playing with future Hall of Famers Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O'Neal, while also making stops in Golden State, Philadelphia and currently Portland.
"My brother has been in the league 11 years, so I’ve seen all these guys within that 11 years," he said at the combine. "So I’ve seen Pat Riley for 6 years straight. I’m accustomed to it."
[NBA DRAFT PROFILE: Utah G Delon Wright]
Delon grew up and played high school basketball in Los Angeles while his brother played in Miami, but he attended City College of San Francisco when Dorell signed with the Warriors in 2011. And though the two haven't been around each other as much with Delon heading to Salt Lake City to play with the Utes the past two years, Dorell has been a guiding presence for his younger brother as he prepares to join him in the NBA.
"He’s been around and he’s able to tell me things some of these players wouldn’t know because he’s on the inside," he admitted. "So he’s been helping me with that. Little things. Telling me to stay hungry."
Dorell and Delon aren't entirely the same. Dorell entered the NBA straight out of high school, so his pre-draft experience was different from the one Delon is currently going through.
Second, Dorell made his mark as an outside shooter. At 6-foot-7, Dorell has made 36.5 percent of his triples since entering the league in 2004. He even led the NBA with 194 3-pointers made in 2010-11 in his first season with the Warriors.
It's an area Delon will have to improve at the next level. A 6-foot-5 point guard who won the Bob Cousy Award in 2015 after averaging 14.5 points and 5.1 assists per game for the Utes, he showed marked improvement from the outside - improving from 22 percent from deep as a freshman to 35.6 percent as a sophomore - but still needs to prove it was more than a one-year outlier. It wasn't a big part of his game, either, as he made just 26 triples in 35 games.
"That’s my main focus," he said of his outside shooting. "Getting a lot of reps, we’re shooting a lot of NBA 3’s, even further behind the line. We’re just putting up shots and getting my confidence (up)."
If Wright can improve that outside shot, he stands to become a quality role player. At 6-foot-5 he has excellent length and quickness for the position, averaging 2.3 steals per game in his two seasons with the Utes while also earning All-Pac 12 Defensive Team honors. His playmaking was a boon for Utah, which advanced to the Elite Eight behind stellar performances from their senior point guard. He rebounds well for his position - 5.8 boards per game in two seasons - and was one of five guards in the country to average at least two steals and one block per game.
The experienced Wright knows what to expect coming in, and as a fringe first-round prospect he could find himself on a contender looking for length and playmaking on the second unit.
"I’ll be ready to play right away. For a team that drafts me I hopefully won’t be one of those project players. I think that’s one thing I can offer right now."