When the Philadelphia 76ers season was full of promise, they had a pretty good plan in place. They acquired Andrew Bynum and their strategy was to surround him with great shooters that could knock down the open three when he was faced with a double team. They acquired Jason Richardson, signed Nick Young and traded for Dorell Wright. The 76ers were poised for a breakout year; then Andrew Bynum’s start to the season kept getting delayed to the point where he didn’t play at all.
The problem with acquiring shooters who can hit an open three is that when Spencer Hawes is your center, those double teams don’t come and the shots are not open. That case could not be truer when you look at the season of Dorell Wright.
Wright was coming off a season two years ago when he led the NBA in three pointers made with 194. He also averaged a career-high 16.4 points per game that year. He took a step back last year, averaging only 10.3 points per game but his minutes were down about 11 per game. He was traded from the Golden State Warriors to the Sixers and was expected to come in and make shots.
Wright spent most of the first half of the year in and out of head coach Doug Collins’ doghouse. There was a stretch in November and December when he played less than 20 minutes per game in 14 out of 15 straight games. There was a similar streak in January and February that was 14 out of 16 games of 20 minutes or less. Inconsistent playing time led to inconsistent shooting and inconsistent numbers for Wright.
Overall, he averaged only 9.2 points while shooting 40% from the field and 37% from three. In March and April, when Wright got consistent playing time (over 24 minutes per game), he averaged 13.1 points per game while shooting 42% from the field and 40% from three. He hit 60 three pointers in the last two months and he only hit 75 in the other four months.
Wright is a free agent this year and because of his strong play down the stretch, the 76ers should consider bringing him back. He plays defense, he’s athletic and he can knock down the three. He has made 100 or more threes in the three-straight seasons and could play a major role next year. For the 76ers to consider it, he would have to expect to make less than the $4.1 million he made this year. He has every right to test the open market but if there are no bites, the Sixers can afford to give him another look at a cheaper rate.