Philadelphia 76ers: Keep an eye on Delon Wright in 2019

(Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
(Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images) /

Though he may be a rival now, if the Philadelphia 76ers are serious about adding a versatile two-way guard this summer, Delon Wright could be a perfect fit.

The Philadelphia 76ers are in the market for three things; outside shooting, backcourt defense, and secondary playmaking. Delon Wright of the Toronto Raptors checks all three of those boxes.

And after Masi Ujiri and company failed to reach an extension with Wright’s people before the October 15th deadline, it looks like the fourth-year guard from Utah will be hitting the open market just after his April 26th birthday.

A primo opportunity for the Sixers to not only bolster their roster but also do so at the expense of their divisional rivals.

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What could be better?

Though Wright is far from a household name, the 26-year-old guard has put together a pretty solid start to his NBA career after a two-year tenure with the Utes from 2013-2015, even if he’s been required to bounce around playing multiple positions across the Dwane Casey, and now Nick Nurse‘s rotations.

Much like the Sixers’ own Landry Shamet, Wright was largely miscast as a primary playmaker in college but has seldom be asked to do the same as a pro. Sure, Wright is still listed as a point but with Villanova’s own Kyle Lowry flying out the gate to the best start of his career and Fred VanVleet holding it down as a two-way guard off the bench, when Delon does see the court, for an average of 16 minutes a night, he’s often tasked with playing a Marcus Smart-esque role on the wing.

As the 32nd best defensive point guard in the league last season according to ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus statistics, Wright was often tasked with guarding out-of-position against opposing shooting guards and even occasionally small forwards on the wings, where his 6-foot-5, uber long frame can be a nuisance.

No wonder he’s averaging in the ballpark of two rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block a game while only playing an average of 17 minutes a night over the last four seasons. Those stats are far from eye-popping, but they highlight Wright’s jack-of-all-trades playing style and showcase the variety of different ways he can impact a game on the defensive end of the court.

But defense isn’t the only thing Wright brings to the table; he’s a pretty efficient scorer too.

While things haven’t exactly started off the way Wright may have hoped over the first 20-plus games of the season, as he’s watched his minutes shrink a touch after the additions of exceptional defensive wing tandem of Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, Wright’s efficiency has actually never been better from the 3-point line.

Sure, his shooting percentage from the field has dropped from 46 to 45 percent in large part due to a severe drop in 2-point efficiency (from 54 percent to 45 percent), but over the first 20 games of the season, Wright has made 16 of his 35 3-point attempts to the tune of a 45.7 completion percentage. That percentage puts Wright 10th in the league above players like Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler, and J.J. Redick, pretty good company even if his outside shots-per-game are limited to about two.

All in all, I’d say those numbers make Wright a pretty great role player.

Need proof? Keep an eye on number 55 when the Sixers take on the Raptors throughout the remainder of the season and watch just how many ways he can impact a game offensively, defensively, and as a secondary playmaker.

But, you may be asking, if Wright is effectively the Raptors’ answer to T.J. McConnell, why would they allow such a vital cog to walk away for nothing? Well, it depends what you think the Raptors should do next season.

If the team does find a way to retain Leonard and by extension Green, they will in all likelihood be in the market for immediate role players off the bench who can provide a little more offensively than Wright’s current 6.4 ppg clip, especially since Delon will probably demand a deal costing between $8-10 million a year.

And if they lose Leonard? The team will probably instead opt to go young and favor retaining players in their early 20s. At soon-to-be 27, Wright isn’t going to get that much better over the next few seasons.

Next. The Homie don’t play that much in Minnesota. dark

Simply put, with his career in Toronto in all likelihood inching towards its conclusion, if the Philadelphia 76ers want to bolster their backcourt defense, fortify their outside shooting, and add yet another auxiliary playmaker to their roster, Delon Wright may be the perfect man for the job.