Monday, April 23, 2007

The Wright Stuff

More cheesy headlines! I'm not going to say "ala ESPN" anymore though, because now that the Leader has acquired my favorite basketball blog, True Hoop, I am calling off the boycott and accepting an uneasy alliance.

However, speaking of ESPN, I have to take exception with the way my guys Tony and Wilbon portrayed Brandan Wright today on PTI. They weren't particularly rough on him or anything, but the insinuation is that he's a bit of a stiff, or at least a few years away from contributing. This seemed to reflect an overall sentiment in big media toward Wright that is less than glowing. He is typically viewed as "too thin" or "lacking passion" or "not ready," and he's certainly seen as a tremendous drop off from Oden and Durant.

While I won't argue the last point, I contend that Wright is going to be a tremendous NBA talent. In many other years, I think he would make for a very solid #1 overall pick and I promise you that one of the reasons the Hawks and Suns will be closely watching the ping-pong balls is that Wright would look awful good in either uniform. In fact, draftniks still seem to think of Wright quite highly. Draft Express, NBA Draft.Net, and Chad Ford of ESPN all have him slotted as the #3 prospect in the draft.

I had my own doubts about Wright earlier in the season when it seemed like he was getting by purely on potential, kind of like how Marvin Williams parlayed potential into being the #2 pick. However, my opinion changed after, you know, watching him play. He was clearly North Carolina's best player down the stretch. He dominated the ACC Tournament. And he answered questions about both size and fire by throwing down two-handed dunks, blocking shots, and crashing the glass.

The whole situation reminds me an awful lot of Chris Bosh in 2003. That year, Bosh was the skinny lefty frosh from the ACC who was a long way behind LeBron, Melo, and (gulp) Darko on every draft board. It was seen as a huge drop off. How did that work out? Bosh (and Dwyane Wade) are right there with Melo at the least and arguably with LeBron as well. 2003 was a great draft, not just at the top, but throughout the top 10 and even deeper. The 2007 Draft seems to be shaping up the same way, with Wright playing the exact same role in all this.

I'm sure that a team like the Bucks would love to get Oden or Durant. But isn't a guy who could be the Next Bosh a pretty solid consolation prize?


Anonymous said...

To put it like that makes the Bosh comparisons seem so obvious. Why hasn't it come up more? I think maybe he's an inch or two shorter than Bosh? It might not seem like much, but in the NBA an inch or two can make a huge difference.

Mickey said...

This is ridiculous. Bosh was so much better as a freshman. He scored like 20 a game and dominated in the paint. He was much more of a sure thing.

Adam Hoff said...

There were only two aspects of Bosh's game as a freshman at Tech that are better than Wright. The first is the ability to step out and hit the 15-footer, which is something we haven't really seen yet from Wright. The other is rebounding. Bosh was stronger on the glass in 02-03, snaring 9.0 a game to Wright's 6.2 this year. Part of that has to do with minutes and role, as Hansborough cut into both for Wright, while Bosh got to be "the guy" from Day One.

As for everything else, Wright compares favorably. He did it on a bigger stage than Bosh, has a longer wingspan, is arguably a bit more athletic, and when you look at the numbers, they are very similar:

Height - Bosh 6'10", Wright 6'10"
Weight - Bosh 219, Wright 210
Points - Bosh 15.6, Wright 14.7
Blocks - Bosh 2.2, Wright 1.8
Steals - Bosh 1.0, Wright 1.0
Turnovers - Bosh 2.3, Wright 1.6
FG% - Bosh 56%, Wright 65%

I'm not saying that Wright is just as good or that I would rather have him over Bosh, but that his frame, playing style, skill set, and freshman year of experience all seem terribly familiar. The fact they are both lefties just tops it off.

mickey said...

Hmm ... okay, maybe you are right. As a Bucks fan, I sure hope you are right.