Delon Wright badly wanted to play for the Detroit Pistons. He finally got his wish

Detroit Free Press

Omari Sankofa II
| Detroit Free Press

Thanks in part to his relationship with Detroit Pistons head coach Dwane Casey, Delon Wright has wanted to be a Piston for several seasons. 

Wright was drafted 20th overall by the Toronto Raptors in 2015 and developed under the tutelage of Casey and the Raptors’ G League system. The Pistons, who have been in need of quality guards, were a targeted destination for Wright after hiring Casey in 2018. 

He said there was a “50-50” chance he’d end up in Detroit before the 2019 trade deadline, but instead, the Raptors traded him to the Memphis Grizzlies. After a season with the Dallas Mavericks, he finally got his wish two weeks ago, when the Pistons traded for the 6-foot-5 combo guard to fortify their depth.

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“I was excited I was finally able to get here and I think it’s a great opportunity for me to grow with the organization,” Wright said. “I couldn’t ask for a better situation right now.” 

Now that his wish has come true, he’s looking forward to playing alongside Detroit’s other two point guards, Killian Hayes and Derrick Rose. After a somewhat-down season in Dallas, where he signed a three-year, $28 million contract last summer, Wright has something to prove. 

Wright, 28, can play both guard positions and is effective with the ball. For his career, he has taken around half of his shots at the rim — one of the highest rates in the league among guards. Since Dallas is built around Luka Doncic, Wright found himself playing off-the-ball more last season. He shot 37% from 3, but was an awkward fit in their offense. He appeared in four of Dallas’ six playoff games, and logged fewer than 10 minutes in two of those games. 

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“I feel like they wanted me to be more of a 3-and-D type of guy, stand in the corner and play off of Luka — which is fine, but after a while, I like to have the ball in my hands a little just to playmake, not even to score,” Wright said. “Just to playmake, keep my rhythm going. A lot of the time, I was in the corner trying to play off another guard.” 

He’s optimistic, due to Casey’s familiarity with his game, he’ll have an easier time in Detroit. Both Rose and Hayes thrive with the ball, and the Pistons also have a high-usage forward in Blake Griffin. Casey teased the possibility of the Pistons running three-guard sets, something he utilized in the past, to maximize their playing time.

Wright has two years left on his contract. With Hayes a rookie point guard and Rose entering the final season of his deal, there are a few paths for Wright to seize a larger share of the offense.

“I don’t need the ball to be effective,” Wright said. “I can offensive rebound, I cut well, hit spot-ups. I don’t need the ball to be effective and I do work well with another point guard that also plays similar to me, likes to share the ball and we can guard different positions. It really works well for me, I don’t have to be on the ball all the time and I can play off another guy.” 

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Wright anticipates spending time on-and-off the ball, and Casey’s task is to figure out how to maximize his skillset while weighing the needs of the other guards. There will be a feeling-out process, but Wright’s optimistic after discussing his role with Casey.

“I’ll be playing one and two, on the ball, off the ball,” Wright said. “I think that works to my strengths perfectly, playing with other guards and being the lead guard. We talked about that. That certainly intrigued me on coming here. Can’t ask for anything better than that.”

Contact Omari Sankofa II at Follow him on Twitter @omarisankofa. Read more on the Detroit Pistons and sign up for our Pistons newsletter.

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