By Ryan McNeill
It yet another minor tweak to their roster, the Raptors dealt Marco Belinelli to the New Orleans Hornets for small forward Julian Wright. Both players are free agents after this summer so it’s the ideal situation for each team to move a player that wasn’t fitting in and see if they can find someone else who betters suits their team.
Wright is a 6′8″ small forward who’s done little with the Hornets due a lack of minutes. There have been stretches where he produced when he was given extended minutes, but for the most part he’s been stuck behind Morris Peterson, Peja Stojakovic and James Posey and has languished on their bench. He averaged a modest 4.0 point per game in the 179 games he’s played in an NBA career that includes 34 starts.
Quickly glancing at Wright’s stats from last season the 50% he shot from the field will stand out. However, that stat is clearly misleading. Wright made an impressive 66.9% of his shots at the rim but his field goal percentage lowers as he gets further away from the rim (39.1% from within 10 feet, 22.7% from 10 to 15 feet). What is interesting is that his field goal raises when he gets a little further away (he hit 28% of his field goal attempts from 16-23 feet and 33% from beyond the arc), however he clearly doesn’t have the same shooting stroke Belinelli was known for having.
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Wright got most of his field goal attempts at the rim off dunks, alleyoops or putbacks which inflated his field goal percentage, further proved by the fact he got 22% of his offense in transition, 14.5% through offensive rebounds and 13.2% via cuts to the bucket. On the flip side, 4.1% was through a post up situation and 3% of his offense came through pick-and-roll with the ball handler.
This time last year Bryan Colangelo extended Belinelli for the 2010-11 season but Belinelli was unable to earn minutes ahead of DeMar DeRozan, Antoine Wright or Sonny Weems last season. Sure, Belly was able to make some passes that made your jaw drop, but his speciality, shooting, was anything but last season. His field goal percentage and three-point percentage both dropped from his previous season but his field goal attempts increased. Nearly half of Belinelli’s offense came through sets that put a shooter in the optimal position to succeed – 26.2% of his offense came through spot up jumpers and 20.8% was through a pick-and-roll situation – yet he wasn’t able to find his groove shooting the ball last season.
Another interesting nugget to drop today is the fact New Orleans dealt rookie point guard Darren Collison to the Indiana Pacers in a separate four-team deal. How does this effect the Raptors? It all but closes the door on Jose Calderon being dealt to Indiana.