The Dallas Mavericks played their first 23 games of the 2013-14 NBA season without a key component of their roster. Dealing with a shoulder injury suffered in the preseason, five-year veteran big man Brandan Wright missed roughly the first quarter of the 82-game season, but made his return to the floor last Saturday for Dallas.
Since returning, Wright has played well off of the bench and in a limited role as the Mavs try to ease him back into the flow of the game and their rotation. He started off with a fantastic 19 points and six rebounds on 9-10 shooting last Saturday, had a let-down in his second game back with just four points and two rebounds—though he did have three blocks—and was solid on Friday night in an overtime loss to the Toronto Raptors as he finished with 13 points, six boards and two blocks on 5-8 shooting.
While the Mavericks, who currently sit with a record of 15-11 have been a solid offensive team and a slightly-less-than-average defensively this season, one of the troubling things is the lack of consistency from their frontcourt, outside of Dirk Nowitzki of course. Guys like Samuel Dalembert and DeJuan Blair have had moments where they’ve been good, but haven’t been able to put together a consistent effort in the post.
Wright, however, presents a player who can give the Mavs just that. His size and length combined with his skill-level allows him to come off of the bench at both the four and the five, depending where he can have more success or where Dallas needs him. Moreover, even though it’s a limited sample size and he’s been out all season, Wright has already shown he can affect the game on both ends of the floor for Dallas. Given that and his success from last season, and Wright’s return could pay dividends for the Mavs down the road.