Wednesday, April 25, 2007

KU's Wright a Risky Draft Prospect

Lets break down the talented Kansas Sophomore forward who declared for the draft on April 9th.

The Chicago native is tremendously versatile. He runs the floor unusually well for a 6'8'' player. Wright really thrives in the full-court game with his ability to push the ball and find open teammates; he does this as well (if not better) than many guards. Wright is a well-built athlete who looks great on the hoof, blessed with long arms, strong legs and quick feet. He gets after it on defense and is able to defend either forward position (he's quick enough to slide his feet on the perimeter, stout enough to bang down on the block). An unselfish player almost to a fault, Wright will find a way to fit in on just about any team in the NBA, regardless of their style of play or his role on the team (he appears to be a high character individual and is a team player).

Despite all of these strenghts, the weaknesses in Wrights game are what may doom him to "perrenial tease" status once he is in the league. The soon-to-be 20 year old is simply not very strong with the ball in tight spaces; against Southern Illinois ( a mid-major team with no notable NBA prospects), Wright struggled securing rebounds which he was in position to snatch and often had his dribble disrupted by smaller, slower, less-talented players. His spotty mid-range shooting and poor free-throw shooting are major concerns; he does not posses the deft touch of a scoring forward. His in-and-out focus and lackadasical body language bring question to whether his mental game is strong enough for the NBA.

Wright's stock may have peaked during the Big 12 Conference season, when Kansas looked unbeatable and Wright had a 33 point breakout game vs. Missouri on national TV. His NCAA tournament performances vs. Southern Illinois and UCLA (7 and 8 points respectively) have his stock sinking at the moment. Still, Wright should not slip out of the lottery; look for him to go somewhere between picks 7-15 on draft night. Declaring this season ensures Wright will not suffer from the overexposure and nitpicking endured by fellow enigmatic forward Josh McRoberts of Duke, a sure-fire Top10 pick had he declared last year who's reeling draft stock (a projected 15-30 pick ) will cost him millions of guranteed NBA dollars this June.

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