Delon Wright had a hunch: Things were about to change.
The Toronto Raptors’ starting point guard was an unrestricted free agent, entertaining offers from other teams. But even after Kyle Lowry re-signed with the club, Wright figured another move was coming.
“I kind of had a feeling something was going to happen,” the former Runnin’ Ute star said. “And it just happened all fast. That opportunity presented itself for me.”
When the Raptors traded backup point guard Cory Joseph to the Indiana Pacers last month, it was, at least in part, a show of faith in the youngster behind him on the depth chart. And Wright intends to prove his bosses right next season.
“I think I’m ready,” he told The Salt Lake Tribune by phone last week.
Delon Wright Basketball Camp
Dates: Aug. 17-19
Location: East High School
More info: http://www.jdsportsacademy.org
Wright will be back in Salt Lake City later this month, hosting his youth basketball at East High School from Aug. 17-19. He’ll see some old friends, make a “mandatory stop” at his favorite breakfast spot, the Park Cafe. Then the 25-year-old will get back to work, preparing for an expanded role and his most important season as a pro yet.
A shoulder injury kept Wright sidelined for most of his sophomore campaign, but the point guard came on strong for the Raptors late. He played in 27 games, averaging 5.6 points and 2.1 assists. Wright’s emergence was a bright spot in Toronto when Lowry went down with an injury of his own.
The Raptors won 51 games last season, finishing third in the Eastern Conference. After a summer that saw a number of top talents from the East head West, Wright is hoping consistency will win out for his squad.
“A lot of moves are going on,” he said. “We made our moves by re-signing Kyle and re-signing Serge [Ibaka]. Those were our two priorities. … We kept our core together and we’re going to make a push.”
The young point guard is expecting former Utah star Jakob Poeltl to make a leap next season.
“I expect a lot from Jak,” he said. “He’s going up for that backup center spot. I just think the more he learns, the better he gets. I think this year he’ll really turn some heads and show all the hard work he’s put in.”
Wright expects himself to make a big leap, too.
As he prepares to shoulder a greater responsibility next season, Wright has spent his summer in Los Angeles, laboring to improve his 3-point shooting (he shot just 33.3 percent from deep last season) and his ball-handling.
Recently, Wright spent a week working out with Oklahoma City star Russell Westbrook.
“I’m learning from an MVP,” Wright said. “I’m just trying to use what I learn this summer and use it this season.”
He has spent his summer facing off against NBA stars James Harden and Chris Paul in pro-am battles in the Drew League.
“I just feel like with me having a whole summer to prepare and with my experience last year,” Wright said, “I feel I’m ready to step up.”