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Season Review: Delon Wright

The Delon Wright trade represents one of Monte McNair's better moves as Sacramento Kings General Manager.

The Sacramento Kings entered the 2020-21 NBA season severely lacking the depth and talent necessary to build out a decent bench unit. We can spread the blame out all over the organization for that.

Veterans like Cory Joseph and Hassan Whiteside underperformed. Young players like Robert Woodard, Kyle Guy, DaQuan Jeffries, Justin James, and Jahmi'us Ramsey never really got an extended opportunity. Monte McNair made little effort to add talent in the offseason. Luke Walton couldn't figure out a rotation or bench unit to mitigate any of these issues. At times, it felt like the lack of depth was by design in the sense that winning games didn't seem like a priority until the Kings found themselves sort of in the play-in mix.

Monte McNair finally gave Luke Walton some bench depth at the trade deadline with the acquisitions of Terence Davis, Maurice Harkless, Damian Jones, and the subject of our season review article today: Delon Wright.

You could make a strong case that outside of drafting Tyrese Haliburton, trading for Delon Wright for the price of Cory Joseph and two 2nd round picks was the best move of McNair's tenure thus far.

We only got to see 27 games of Delon Wright in Sacramento, but his small run here was pretty encouraging. Wright averaged 25.8 MPG over those 27 appearances, scoring 10 PPG on 8.3 shots while shooting .462 from the field and a would-be-career-high .398 from three. Delon also contributed with 3.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.6 steals per game.

Delon showed his all-around game on a fairly consistent basis despite the fact that he was thrusted into a position beyond his expected talent level. Wright is a nice reserve guard, but with Fox missing several games towards the end of the season, Delon had to step into the starting lineup and run a team he wasn't all that familiar with, and I thought he did a really solid job under those circumstances.

Wright's versatility really stuck out to me. The Kings could legitimately play Wright at starting point guard, or use him as the secondary ball-handler with either De'Aaron Fox or Tyrese Haliburton, and he has the size and length on defense to guard both smaller and bigger guards and wings competently depending on the matchup.

There were times this season where Wright looked fantastic on defense, and you could sort of start to get a hopeful glimpse into the King's future where the guard rotation of Wright, Fox, and Hali becomes one of the better defensive guard rotations in the NBA. They aren't quite there yet, obviously. The Kings had a horrendous season defensively overall. Fox, in particular, needs to work on his consistency there, but the talent, length and skills among those three guards has a lot of potential.

Wright is owed $8.5 million next season, the final year of the 3-year, $28 million contract he signed with Memphis in 2019, so Delon should be back on the Kings' roster next season. I wouldn't expect him to shoot nearly 40% from three again, so his efficiency on offense might dip, but he was extremely solid during the 2nd half of the season for Sacramento. I'm excited to see how he looks on this team after a full offseason and training camp.

 

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RikSmits
June 4, 2021 9:03 am

and you could sort of start to get a hopeful glimpse into the King’s future where the guard rotation of Wright, Fox, and Hali becomes one of the better defensive guard rotations in the NBA. They aren’t quite there yet, obviously. The Kings had a horrendous season defensively overall. Fox, in particular, needs to work on his consistency there, but the talent, length and skills among those three guards has a lot of potential.

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Last edited 13 days ago by RikSmits
Otis
June 4, 2021 10:07 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Some of their issue is effort, some is certainly scheme, but agree with Tony that those three have the physical gifts to be a solid defensive backcourt.

RikSmits
June 4, 2021 11:25 am
Reply to  Otis

Many NBA players that play over 20 minutes a night have the physical gifts to be a solid defensive backcourt.

Only a few of them were part of the worst defense in NBA history…

Otis
June 4, 2021 11:28 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Oh, certainly. I think we have a scheme/teaching issue primarily.

Guessing that these guys would be considerably better under a different coaching staff (a similar roster was 18th under Joerger).

Last edited 13 days ago by Otis
RikSmits
June 4, 2021 11:35 am
Reply to  Otis

I think that Tyyrese misses the frame/strength to be a good individual defender yet. that can come. He’s a good team defender.

Fox is a bad tem defender, doesn’t understand spacing that well. Is okay at gambling ands jumping in passing lanes/stealing balls, but at the expense of solid team D. And he just gets glued to every frickin screen he encounters. That is from before Walton. I have my doubts he will improve much.

And as much as people don’t like to hear it, Fox only gives efforts in spurts. If he can give dolid defensive effort for whole games, whole seasons, I will start to believe.

Otis
June 4, 2021 11:41 am
Reply to  RikSmits

I think Fox will become a better team defender, but I agree on the overall effort. I know he gets a pass from some for having to “carry” the team on the offensive end, but if that’s the case, it might be a good idea for him to split up the effort a bit.

His defensive metrics were pretty solid that second year under Joerger, so I think he can get there again – in the right system.

Last edited 13 days ago by Otis
Carl
June 4, 2021 10:54 am
Reply to  RikSmits

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Last edited 13 days ago by Carl
RikSmits
June 4, 2021 11:56 am
Reply to  Carl

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Carl
June 4, 2021 2:32 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

Have a coffee Rik!
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AnybodyButBagley
June 4, 2021 11:16 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Almost 20 years of potential and nothing…..

1951
June 4, 2021 11:41 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Wright is the perfect candidate to be next up in the great Kings tradition of needing a player to be more than they are.

Wright is good and a solid bench role player. For the Kings to be good, however, they are likely going to need him to play at a sixth-man of the year candidate or starter level.

And if tradition holds, folks will sour on him for not being more than himself. Especially with Walton’s coaching knack of not maximizing talent, I would bet on tradition!

We shall see.

Last edited 13 days ago by 1951
Otis
June 4, 2021 11:43 am
Reply to  1951

Wright is the perfect candidate to be next up in the great Kings tradition of needed a player to be more than they are.

It’s nice when they’re making less than 10 million per year, though.

1951
June 4, 2021 11:48 am
Reply to  Otis

For sure. It’s the expectations coming from a half a season of serviceable play for the Kings!

We are so starved for competency that we often mistake it for stardom! 😜

Marty
June 4, 2021 12:29 pm
Reply to  1951

Vivek: “I want diversity.”

Minion: “But sir we already kill careers in every conceivable way.”

BestHyperboleEver
June 4, 2021 11:48 am
Reply to  Otis

And he’s not expected to start. I could be wrong, but I don’t feel the outsized expectations being laid on him. On the other hand I do feel like we’re seeing that happen a bit for Davis, Jones, and Metu.

1951
June 4, 2021 11:51 am

You saw the quote Rik responded to, correct?

Also, I didn’t say starter, I said “starter level.” Like Bobby Jackson level!
🙂

RikSmits
June 4, 2021 12:08 pm
Reply to  1951

That quote by Tony was a bit of a mess, and I say that as a Tony fan.

I mean, when you look at me you get a hopeful glimpse that I might be Tony’s biggest fan. I’m not a good fan yet, I was atrocious last season and gave little effort, but I have the POTENTIAL to become Tony’s best fan in the league. I have the skillz.

Otis
June 4, 2021 12:12 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

I think he added all the qualifiers for exactly this reason.

RikSmits
June 4, 2021 12:52 pm
Reply to  Otis

Yeah, statements with that many qualifiers should be disqualified.

Greg
Admin
June 4, 2021 1:23 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

He said that based on their size, length, and ability you can see potential for the unit to perform well defensively. He then explained why it is just potential, and specifically addressed the current issues. It feels like you’re finding the tiniest of things to quibble with.

RikSmits
June 4, 2021 1:45 pm
Reply to  Greg

Thanks for explaining it to me like I’m a moron.

I think you’re taking this way too seriously.

But if you guys can’t take a bit of lighthearted criticism, say so.

Greg
Admin
June 4, 2021 1:53 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

You’re allowed to criticize. I’m allowed to disagree with your criticism.

Otis
June 4, 2021 1:55 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

I think if he hadn’t had them, his opinion would have been summarily dismissed with an “LOL, did you watch this defense this season”.

Not sure he could win for losing on this one. But I do see what he sees (if I squint a bit, oops sorry for the qualifier).

BestHyperboleEver
June 4, 2021 9:14 am

Wright is kinda my ideal prototype for a 3rd/4th guard. A versatile combo guard on a team-friendly deal with the size/length to guard both backcourt positions. Along with guys like NAW, Horton-Tucker, Celtics-version Rozier, White, etc.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
June 4, 2021 9:21 am

Outside of Holmes and Hali (rookie deal), Wright might be the best value to contract on the Kings this past season. At $8.5M next year, he is likely the best value outside of rookie deals. He’s an ideal 3rd guard, much like Bogi, but also plays both ways. He will be an excellent member to the Kings weak bench next season.

All that being said, because of his value and production he might also be the best trade asset this offseason. If McNair’s intended goal is to swing for the fences on a big name player, as many on this site have suggested, it wouldn’t surprise me if Wright is apart of any deal. He’d give another team valuable contribution on an expiring deal. I could easily see him being attached as a sweetener to a hypothetical Buddy/Barnes/Bagley deal this offseason or at the next deadline.

Last edited 13 days ago by Adamsite
andy_sims
June 4, 2021 10:51 am
Reply to  Adamsite

I agree with you about Wright’s value as a potential trade piece. Good contract, and can contribute on any roster. If he can help us get our hands on a real difference-maker, it’ll just be another gold star on my feelings about him.

HongKongKingsFan
June 4, 2021 9:42 am

I also like Wright, seems to be a high BBIQ player….rarely made a mistake…can also set up his teammate, able to drive into the lane by himself..crafty player

and I love his steal, he got 6 steals in one game……that’s insane.

Otis
June 4, 2021 10:06 am

My in-depth review:
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eddie41
June 4, 2021 10:14 am

3 to 1 assist to turnover ratio is not bad either.

RobHessing
June 4, 2021 10:40 am

When you consider that CoJo had a $2.5m buyout next season, the net cost of Wright is +$6m. That sure looks like a solid investment based on what we have seen.

andy_sims
June 4, 2021 10:49 am

I agree almost completely with your assessment of Wright. He absolutely looked like the kind of player that you’d like to have in your rotation. He’s a legit two-way player.

Briefly, on another topic: How did Whiteside, on a one-year minimum contract for backup minutes, underperform? I’ve seen his numbers dismissed as empty, but that label (similarly applied to Rondo’s assists) strikes me as meaningless. A player gets the rebounds that he gets. He can’t get them when he isn’t playing, and he can’t in real time determine whether or not a potential rebound is “valuable” or will make a difference in the outcome. You just get your hands on the ball. In the time he played. Whiteside got boards, points and blocks at a good rate. You can say that he wasn’t a difference-maker, but since the Kings had no post-season, as expected, I struggle to understand what other outcome others may feel was possible, had he not “underperformed.”

And if you’re factoring in Whiteside’s somewhat unserious attitude, he’s a known commodity in that regard, and it’s caveat emptor all day, baby.

Carl
June 4, 2021 10:56 am
Reply to  andy_sims

It’s because the team was worse when Whiteside was on the floor.

andy_sims
June 4, 2021 12:32 pm
Reply to  TonyXypteras

I take your larger point, although his DRtg was six points better than the team as a whole, which is where I’d guess the team wanted the most help. His ORtg was worse than the team’s by about the same amount, though.

Carl
June 4, 2021 11:03 am

Relatively speaking, Wright is a win. Vlade couldn’t get to his office door without stepping on a rake, and Wright looks like a rotation player. I’m certainly happy that the Kings made a move that indicates basic competence for a change. Put in perspective, this is a very minor win for a bad team that needs major changes.

Last edited 13 days ago by Carl
RobHessing
June 4, 2021 11:46 am
Reply to  Carl

Stepping on a rake? Breaking: Kings sign Robin Lopez!comment image

BestHyperboleEver
June 4, 2021 11:45 am

I was really confused by the “contract he signed in 2019 with the Grizzlies” bit. Then I remembered it was a S&T. So the contract was kinda “signed with the Grizzlies” in the same way that Gary Trent, Jr, was “drafted by the Kings.”

kings4ever
June 4, 2021 1:12 pm

I have been watching a lot of Franz Wagner lately. Cross him off the list. Sad to report that the guy is NOT that good. Back-up role player projection.

Watching him try to attack the hoop is painful. He’s not a natural scorer. He’s a below the rim player. How do I put this succinctly, he sucks.

Why would McGenius waste a pick on this guy? It would be horrific.

You really have to squint hard and rationalize hard to project this guy as a quality starter, nevermind a potential star, which is the point of a lottery pick, or a Michael Porter Jr (the guy Vlade should have drafted), or a Joe Ingles type. He’s not in that category.

Wagner is too indecisive, he sprays his shots. There is NOT star potential there. He’s not as anemic and woeful as Scottie Barnes, well close, but it is just not happening for him.

We should draft Kai Jones or EJ Onu at #9. I like the idea of drafting Onu, starting him at center from Day One, and moving Holmes to PF to take the repsonsiblity and pressure off him. That team would be awesome defensively with enough offensive to win:

Onu
Holmes
HB
Ty
Fox

This is my preferred course of action for the moment barring a trade for Sabonis or Siakum, but trading the pick makes more and more sense. The bottom line at this early stage in the draft process is the potential wing players at #9:

> Wagner
> Barnes
> Ziaire Williams
> Jalen Johnson

…..are not that good. Ziaire has aspects to his game that are intriguing. He has lovely shot mechanics, he has a nice 1-2 dribble pull-up shot, and he has slithery lean build that enables him to get into the crease of defense and get around picks and be a really good defender.

But this skinny fraile dude is going to check Luka and others and why was his output so pathetic at Stanford, 37% FGs and not a lot of other numbers of note. His PER was 11.1. Sad! Sorry but you disqualify yourself from Top 9 pick if you can only resister an 11 PER in the NCAAs. Next!

And yet the “gurus” want to pretend Z Williams is a worthy candidate? For what? Long term project, thats what!

Greg
Admin
June 4, 2021 1:26 pm
Reply to  kings4ever

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Last edited 13 days ago by Greg Wissinger
Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
June 4, 2021 1:43 pm
Reply to  Greg

Duh…Franz Wagner is the brother of Mortiz Wagner who once played against Delon Wright…in an NBA game…somewhere.

andy_sims
June 4, 2021 1:50 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

If we draft the younger brother of another failed Michigan product, I’ll be very disappointed. Aside from Robert Traylor, that school hasn’t produced an above-average NBA player since Chris Webber.

Maybe it’s hard to get players to go there without the, ah, incentives that CWebb was provided.

Bryant
Member
June 4, 2021 2:01 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

I don’t really understand “Players who went to ____ don’t become NBA players” as an argument (and I’ve had it with quite a few people in recent years). It’s so much an apples to carrots argument – each player is an individual and modern NBA scouting pin-points skills and abilities rather than outcomes from a specific school’s schemes. Franz Wagner has a ton of above-average skills to where I truly think he could fit with any roster in the NBA. Is he worth a lotto pick? I think so, but I understand argument that he isn’t (not an individual creator, likely not a go-to guy on offense and probably not a top-option defender). I just don’t get what any of that has to do with Michigan, or Duke, or FSU, or any school.

Last edited 13 days ago by Bryant West
Otis
June 4, 2021 2:14 pm
Reply to  Bryant

Yeah, it used to be Duke right? Turns out, these schools don’t produce good NBA players until they do.

RobHessing
June 4, 2021 2:15 pm
Reply to  Bryant

The odds are that the #9 pick will not ever be as good as Duncan Robinson or Caris Levert.

andy_sims
June 4, 2021 4:20 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Well, not if it’s Franz Wagner.

andy_sims
June 4, 2021 4:19 pm
Reply to  Bryant

Well, I agree with you, but you aren’t from Ohio. Anything that disparages the school in Ann Arbor is ironclad.

Bryant
Member
June 4, 2021 4:40 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Ah, so this is like me wishing everyone who went to Gonzaga was actually bad.

BeTheBall
June 5, 2021 12:26 am
Reply to  Bryant

I’m not sure about basketball, but in football if you’re going all in on drafting a USC QB, then chances are you’re getting a bust.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
June 4, 2021 2:02 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

I think you’ve mentioned this before, and like last time I mentioned Caris LeVert.

I guess I’m not as hung up on the school as I am the player, especially when most of these guys are one and done players. It’s hard for me to say a player was “produced” by a college when they were basically on campus for about 6 months.

Bryant
Member
June 4, 2021 2:06 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Agreed. Very few future NBA players end up around an NCAA program for long enough to truly alter their develop paths anymore.

Carl
June 4, 2021 2:36 pm
Reply to  kings4ever

I’m personally looking forward to the McGenius to McDumbass transition in these posts.

RobHessing
June 4, 2021 2:40 pm
Reply to  Carl

Order the McVivek. It tells you that it likes to surround itself with better sandwiches, but it tends to repeat on you.

Bryant
Member
June 4, 2021 2:57 pm
Reply to  Carl

I choked on my tea reading this, thanks Carl

Last edited 13 days ago by Bryant West
kings4ever
June 4, 2021 5:52 pm
Reply to  Carl

McDunce has a better ring to it, but i don’t think it will be necessary.

kings4ever
June 4, 2021 6:04 pm
Reply to  kings4ever

Still I challenge anyone to watch this tape of Wagner and come away impressed.

There’s no pop there, no “it” factor, just a future NBA role player.

If you are serious about studying theae prospects, I recommend this channel.

It is not highlight compliation, which can easily lead to a schewed perspective, it is highlights, lowlights and everything in. between.

In this case it is 1 hour and 47 minutes of Franz Wagner drudgery, making two or three “yeesh” plays for every nice one. I would not care so much about his inconsistent shot if he had a strong attack on the rim, but he doesn’t. His post game is trash, his burst is trash, Ziaiare has better footwork than him.

Moe Harkless is better than Franz Wagner and I don’t even think we should resign Harkless.

BeTheBall
June 5, 2021 12:20 am
Reply to  kings4ever

Um, ok

Inthestarz
June 4, 2021 5:51 pm

You know my opinion

Third best player on the team now

I don’t want to hear about needing to save up for Holmes, but needing to save up for Wright

Playmaking do it all guards are what makes the league go round

Hope he can start some with Fox/Hali

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