MEMPHIS — After getting drafted in the first round by the Toronto Raptors in 2015 following a standout career at the University of Utah, Delon Wright was getting comfortable in Toronto where he was a key contributor off the bench for one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference.
Then early last month, just before the trade deadline, he had to pack his bags and move to Memphis, being part of the trade that sent Grizzlies’ star Marc Gasol to the Raptors. Former Jazzman C.J. Miles also went to Memphis in that deal.
Wright was sad to leave Toronto where he had made friends and developed close relationships within the organization, but he understood it was part of the business and he has done well since joining the Grizzlies.
“It’s been good so far,” he said. “I like the opportunities that I’ve been given and am just trying to grow with this organization and this new team. I've definitely been able to play on the ball more and play my game more. It’s been fun to get back to doing that."
Wright has averaged 10.8 points since coming to Memphis and is coming off a career-high 25-point night Tuesday in a win over Portland. He’s been playing just under 28 minutes per game as the primary backup to Mike Conley, taking over the spot vacated by former Jazzman Shelvin Mack when he was traded to Atlanta.
Memphis coach J.B. Bickerstaff is happy with what Wright has brought to his team.
“He has the ability to play in the open court, he has the ability to get to the paint, he has the ability to play-make,” Bickerstaff said. “His ability to defend multiple positions has been huge for us. We’ve been able to play small lineups with him, Mike (Conley) and Avery (Bradley) on the floor and he can take the challenge of the bigger guy. That helps us offensively with that playmaking, speed and ball-handling on the floor.”
Bickerstaff also said Wright is a fast learner.2 comments on this story
’’Watching him just since he’s been here, he’s a guy you can have a conversation with or a 10-minute workout with and he takes it that night and puts it on the floor,” he said. “That says lot because a lot of guys can’t do that. He’s a better basketball player than even when he got here.”
Wright says he still keeps in touch with coaches at Utah and former players such as Kyle Kuzma (“Kuz is still my guy”) and Dakarai Tucker, who plays in the G League. He still comes back to Utah every summer to put on a basketball camp at East High School and says he’s looking forward to coming back again this summer.