On Tuesday night, in the Philadelphia 76ers 107-100 road loss to the Dallas Mavericks, Dorrell Wright shined for the Sixers as one of the only players who provided any bench scoring in the contest.
When the Sixers added Wright, Jason Richardson and Nick Young this past offseason, many were excited about the team’s instant improvement at the three-point line and their newfound scoring depth on the wing. But, Wright’s ability to produce this season has been thwarted by Richardson playing too many minutes in front of him.
On the season, a former starter for the Golden State Warriors, Wright is averaging 7.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 0.9 steals in 21.1 minutes per game. He also shoots 88 percent from the line and 35.7 percent from three-point land.
Over his last 5 games, Jason Richardson’s play has definitely been slipping. He’s averaged 8.4 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.6 assists on just 29.7 percent shooting from the field and just 30.7 percent shooting from three in a whopping 31.1 minutes per game. He’s also looked extremely old on defense to make matters worse.
Now, let’s keep in mind that the Sixers are supposedly in an evaluative year where they have to make some decisions that can drastically affect the next 5-7 seasons. If they re-sign Andrew Bynum and extend Evan Turner, they’re locking up a core four of Bynum, Turner, Thaddeus Young and Jrue Holiday for essentially the rest of the decade. To compliment that core, you need solid role players; and Dorrel Wright is just that.
Wright is 27 years old and has one year left of his $4.1 million/year contract. Richardson is 31 years old and has three years left at $5.8 million/year in his contract. Wouldn’t it make sense to play your younger, and arguably better, player in more minutes to see if he can be one of your top role players on your franchise’s championship contending team for the next decade?
Not only that, but Wright would provide instantly more production for this struggling Sixers squad as well. He would get to the line more, shoot a higher percentage from three, and create his own shots. In Golden State, where he played __ minutes per game as a starter, Wright averaged 13.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists and 2.8 FT attempts per game on 42 percent FG shooting and 36.8 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
We’ve also seen Wright’s ability to create his own shot when he’s gotten point guard minutes in the absence of Holiday over the past 3 games, boding for his versatility. Lastly, he also defends better than Richardson, who struggled covering Jodie Meeks, Darius Morris and Chris Duhon against the Lakers on Sunday.
I understand Richardson is the “savvy veteran who’s been there before”, but with a team that’s failing to keep opponents’ scorers at bay and struggling to create easy shots on offense, you have to mix some things up to end a 4-game losing streak.
Start Dorrell Wright over Jason Richardson, and see what happens.
Jake Fischer is a Sixers contributor for Buzz On Broad. He also serves as the CAA Columnist for RantSports.com and writes for numerous sections of the Huffington Post. Make sure to follow Jake on Twitter @JakeLFischer.