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Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Mavs Mailbag: What to expect from Wright?

By Tim MacMahon

DALLAS -- The Mavericks made their first major move of the season, activating Brandan Wright on Saturday night.

OK, so it’s not quite as sexy as a blockbuster trade, but Wright sure looked like a guy who could give the Mavs a big boost while debuting with 19 points on 90-percent shooting in 19 minutes in the blowout of the Milwaukee Bucks.

So, naturally, Wright is the subject of a couple of questions in this week’s mailbag. Let’s get to them ...

Parker (Dallas): Can the Mavs expect the kind of production they got from Brandan Wright in his season debut? Love the energy he brings to the team.

Oh, I think a point per minute and 90-percent shooting is a bit lofty, but I like Wright referring to his strong finish last season as setting the baseline for expectations this year.

Brandan Wright
Brandan Wright could end up being the third-leading scorer on the Mavericks this season.
In the final 23 games last season, Wright averaged 11.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 24 minutes per night to help the Mavs go 15-8 down the stretch and finish .500. There’s no reason that Wright, who worked on bulking up and extending his shooting range this summer, shouldn’t be able to at least replicate those numbers.

Wright’s goal is to shoot 62.5 percent from the floor. That’s lofty but reasonable, too, considering he finished the previous two seasons at 61.8 and 59.7 percent. He should benefit from having a pass-first point guard in Jose Calderon and a shooting guard in Monta Ellis who excels at breaking down defenses and dishing to big men to finish, which is what Wright does best.

I see Wright as a guy who very well could end up being the third-leading scorer on this team.

@JonathanBlick on Twitter: Would the Mavs consider packaging Brandan Wright in a deal for Omer Asik? Would that gain the Rockets' interest?

Wait, I just went on and on about how much Wright can help the Mavs and now you want to get rid of him?!

It’s actually an interesting idea, given the Mavs’ seemingly never-ending search for a defensive stopper at center. Never say never, but it doesn’t sound like the Mavs are in the mix for Asik.

In fact, Dallas didn’t even get a mention in Marc Stein’s latest ESPN.com update on the Asik rumors.

UPDATE: As MavsOutsider.com's Kirk Henderson reminded me, Wright is actually ineligible to be traded until Jan. 15 because the Mavs used the Early Bird exemption to re-sign him.

@zeezeeA85 on Twitter: Do you see the Mavs making any midseason trades?

I wouldn’t bank on the Mavs making any blockbuster deals. I’m sure they’ll aggressively explore all their options, as they should, but I don’t see them sacrificing their summer cap flexibility unless they feel like it’s a major-impact deal.

The other factor to consider here is that the Mavs really don’t have a lot of attractive trade chips. It’d have to be a heck of an offer to get them to give up Monta Ellis. Shawn Marion and Vince Carter are quality veterans with expiring contracts, so they could have some value, but they’re not going to get a star in return. And the Mavs can’t deal first-round picks because they still owe a protected pick to OKC (via the Lakers and Rockets) from the Lamar Odom deal.

Jason (Dallas): Going into next year, the Mavs will have a massive need at SF and center. There's not much available on the free-agent center market outside of Marcin Gortat but do you expect them to be players for Luol Deng? He's going to be a hot commodity who will probably cost in the range of $60 million for four years, so is he a realistic target?

I mentioned Deng last week as a guy who seems like he’d be a good fit in Dallas. He’s a younger version of Marion as a defender and is a much better scorer at this point of their respective careers, although his shooting percentage isn’t pretty.

Would the Mavs be willing to pay that much for a complementary player? Not sure about that.

Jacob (Allen): Is there any scenario where Ricky Ledo sees a good amount of playing time this year?

That scenario is unfolding in Frisco. This is a developmental year for Ledo, a second-round project who didn’t play a minute of college basketball. He’ll spend the majority of it in the D-League.

Ledo has been up and down with the Legends, averaging 13.7 points on 44.6 percent shooting and 5.4 rebounds in 24.1 minutes per game. He’s coming off by far his best performance, a 22-point, 9-of-12-shooting, nine-rebound gem in a win over the Austin Toros.