Brandan Wright putting up (exclamation) points
OK, so he’s not so big at 6-foot-10, 210 pounds. He’s awfully skinny for a center. But The Human Exclamation Point -- a nickname that fits his slender frame and a game with a flair for the spectacular -- is still a pretty intriguing prospect as a center.
Just look at his lines from the Mavs’ home-and-home wins over the Houston Rockets. Wright followed up a 14-point, six-rebound, seven-block night in Saturday’s overtime win by putting up 13 points and seven rebounds off the bench in Tuesday’s 90-81 victory.
“He’s trying to do anything and everything to keep himself on the floor,” Shawn Marion said. “We need that. That’s a good sign. It’s a great sign.”
Is it a sign of things to come?
Wright has played the majority of the center minutes the last two games. That isn’t likely to continue once Brendan Haywood returns from a sprained right knee, which could be as soon as Thursday night in Miami.
However, it’s hard to envision Wright not having a role. Coach Rick Carlisle said the Mavs will continue to use the “three-headed monster” approach at center. Wright provides a different kind of threat than Haywood, a paint-clogging defensive presence, and Mahinmi.
Wright can get the Mavs buckets by the bunches in efficient and emphatic fashion. His stats from the Mavs’ last three wins, all against teams in the West playoff picture: 42 points on 20-of-25 shooting.
Dallas might have to play a different defensive style with Wright. He’s a phenomenal shot-blocker as a help defender, but he can get bullied on the block by low-post beasts. But he can also expose those big-bodied bullies on the other end.
“I’m going to be moving,” Wright said. “I’m going to be running around a lot. They’re going to feel it on the defensive end.”
They’ll probably see it on SportsCenter, too.
Wright, who has plastic-man arms and pogo-stick hops, is a tremendously entertaining game dunker. That’s a major reason he’s shooting 62 percent from the floor.
“He gets above the rim, but he can’t only just dunk,” Dirk Nowitzki said. “He’s got a nice touch around the rim and I like that little jump hook he’s got over the right shoulder. He can make some teams pay if they don’t pay attention to our 5s.”
Jason Terry gave Wright a DVD of Tyson Chandler pick-and-roll buckets soon after Wright signed with the Mavs for a minimum deal with a team option for next season. Wright has also developed a knack for making himself available in the right spots as a weak-side cutter.
Combine Wright’s ability to score as a complementary offensive piece and his tendency to reject shots, and it appears the Mavs have found quite a bargain on the scrap heap.
This isn’t just a 24-year-old, peach-fuzz-faced project. Wright looks like a guy that can help the Mavs in the playoffs.
“He’s an energy player and he needs to continue to bring that bounce,” Terry said. “We need it. That’s something that we miss with Tyson not being here. He’s providing some of that.”
That’s going to make it hard to keep the kid off the court.
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