clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Delon Wright's fit in Toronto

The Toronto Raptors used the 20th overall pick in last night's NBA draft to select the former Utah standout. With Delon heading north of the border, let's take a look at why Toronto selected him and how he fits in with the Raptors.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Delon Wright better dust off his passport. The 23-year old former point guard for the Utes heard his name called when the Toronto Raptors made him the 20th selection in the 2015 NBA draft. Wright becomes the first Ute drafted since Andrew Bogut in 2005, the 10th Ute selected in the first round of the NBA draft, and the first Utah player to play for Toronto.

Toronto general manager Masai Ujiri tipped his hand the Raptors would be drafting a point guard, when earlier, he dealt backup point guard Greivis Vasquez to Milwuakee for a 2016 first round pick and the 46th pick of last night's draft. One of the Raptors biggest needs was defensive help and a player who could come in and contribute immediately. Wright should fit the bill for both categories in Toronto.

With Vasquez's departure, Wright will have an opportunity to step in immediately as Kyle Lowry's primary backup. Wright's quickness and size at 6-5, might allow him to play a combo guard role alongside Lowry, serving as a defensive stopper against opposing team's two guards, depending on the situation and matchup.

Wright will head to Toronto with a friend waiting to greet him in Canada's largest city. DeMar DeRozan, a wing for the Raptors, is a Los Angeles native like Wright, and the two have known each other since their younger days in southern California. Wright also will have a power forward Amir Johnson, another Los Angeles native, who he already knows on the roster.

Wright's ability to defend the pick and roll was a major selling point for the Raptors.

"You've got to have guys to be able to defend the pick-and-roll and he's a good start for us" Raptors head coach Dwayne Casey said. "He's one of the top defensive point guards in the draft," he added. "He defends, he can run the pick-and-roll very well. Great kid, good character, a good team guy, and an excellent ball passer in the pick-and-roll game."

Wright's high basketball IQ and the fact that he comes from a good basketball pedigree (brother Dorell plays for the Portland Trailblazers) also worked in Wright's favor with the Raptors.

"He wouldn't be overwhelmed by the NBA," Casey said. "He's grown up around the NBA. He's been to numerous NBA games, worked out with NBA players, so he's not going to come in shell-shocked to go against guys in practice."

The man Wright is presumably replacing, Greivis Vasquez, struggled defensively and was at times completely overmatched. The Raptors defensive deficiency was a pressing issue, and was apparent as they were swept out of the first round at the hands of the Washington Wizards, despite having home court advantage.  If Wright can go to Toronto and play good defense, Casey will be happy, and Wright will carve a spot in the rotation for himself.

Delon Wright joins one of the Eastern Conference's rising teams. His skills as an on ball defender fill one of the biggest holes the Raptors had last season and will give him an opportunity to see minutes right out of the gate. Playing behind Lowry, Wright won't have a huge amount of pressure placed on his shoulders and will have an opportunity to grow into his role with an up and coming team. This appears to be an ideal situation for Wright to begin a successful professional career.