Delon Wright was acquired by the Memphis Grizzlies in the Marc Gasol deal with the Toronto Raptors on at this year’s trade deadline. In all the deals the Grizzlies were rumored to be discussing about Marc and Mike, the desired return outside of a first round pick was a young player for the future.
Well Delon isn't exactly young. He is 26, soon to be 27, years old and is in his fourth season in the NBA. He is however a 6’5” point guard which is a commodity in today’s switch happy NBA. Wright is in the final year of his rookie contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer, which means the Grizzlies will have the opportunity to match any offer a team gives Delon in the offseason.
The question is this: Did the Grizzlies seek out Delon Wright in the trade with Gasol with the intent to make him a part of the official post core four future of the franchise? Should the match any offer?
The Case for Wright
The debate has raged on for years. Who is the best back up point guard in Memphis Grizzlies’ history? Nick Calathes? Jerryd Bayless? Mario Chalmers? We were all fooled early in the season thinking Shelvin Mack could be it, but that was far from the truth.
The fact is there really isn't a runaway favorite. It is conceivable, if the Grizz decide to keep both Mike Conley and Wright, that Wright could easily become the best back up point guard Memphis have had in recent years. For his career, his Per 36 minutes stats look like this:
13.7 points, 4.8 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 1.8 steals.
I don't know about you, but I will take that from a backup point guard all day long.
Wright has been blocked in Toronto by Kyle Lowry and now Fred VanVleet, so we still don’t know if he has reached his potential as an NBA player. What could he produce if he got 25-28 minutes a game rather than his career average of 17.5?
If the Grizzlies decide to trade Mike Conley and not receive a point guard in a return package, the Grizzlies should still not commit much more than a Kyle Anderson type deal until he proves he is worth over 10 million dollars a year.
The front office should most certainly bring him back as the primary back up if he can be had for six to eight million a year for 2-3 years. Anything more than that, he can hit someone else’s cap.
The best thing that can be done is to give him as many minutes as possible the remainder of this season and see what he can truly do. How does he play with Jaren and Kyle? Can he lead a team? All questions that should have answers sought for as a primary objective for this point forward.
Why he may not be the best choice
Wright has had the advantage of being around two All Star guards in Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. While that does also mean he has been blocked by the two players, in his three seasons he has yet to force the coaching staff to give him more minutes.
He played 27 games each in his first two seasons, then last year was his best year in 69 games scoring 8 points per game. While Kyle Anderson had only scored that much as a career high, Kyle offers much more on the floor that Delon does. So Delon is certainly not worth the same kind of contract.
He averages less than a steal per game and less than 3 assists per game. So if you value per game over per 36, his stats aren't that appealing. If a team offers him more than 2-3 years at 6-8 million per year, the Grizzlies should not match and look elsewhere.
I personally like the idea of offering Wright his Qualifying Offer, bringing him back on that for a year and seeing what he can do. If he proves worthy during the remainder of this year, will the Grizzlies be able to get a better back up point guard? They should certainly try and see if Delon Wright can be that player.