As NBA training camps get underway this week and final roster spots are filled, there are still some notable veteran free agents looking for work. One of those players is former NBA champion and 12-year veteran, Dorell Wright. Wright last played in the NBA during the 2015-16 season when he joined the Miami HEAT in time for the playoffs following a stint in China. A year ago, he joined the Los Angeles Clippers for training camp but ended up being one of their final roster cuts.
With NBA rosters seemingly getting younger and younger, older veterans like Wright have sometimes found themselves on the outside looking in. A coveted roster spot might go to someone with potential over a more proven veteran.
“I know how it is right now, the game is changing as far as the youth,” Wright told Basketball Insiders over the summer. “But I think I got another good four or five years to get in the NBA and play at a high level.”
Following his release from the Clippers before the start of last season, Wright didn’t end up playing basketball anywhere. Instead, over the summer, he took his game to one of the places where it all began for him.
The Drew League in Los Angeles has grown in popularity over the past few years, but it was where Wright used to test his game as a teenager, playing against grown men. It was where he was able to elevate his game to the next level and get drafted by the HEAT back in 2004 straight out of high school.
Wright has played in the Drew League every summer, but this one, in particular, had extra meaning for him as he sought to prove he still belongs in the NBA. Every summer, the Drew League attracts many of the top professional, college, and high school players in the nation.
According to Wright, getting in tough summer competition separated him from many of his peers who may spend their offseason differently. Despite what may or may not happen in terms of signing with an NBA team, Wright will always come back to the Drew.
“Not too many guys are doing this, guys are just working out, lifting weights, getting shots up. They’re not doing real live game situational stuff,” Wright told Basketball Insiders. “I’ve been using it for the past 16-17 years. It’s helped me at the high school level, it’s helped me at the NBA level. I’m just gonna continue to come here and get my reps in.”
In his lone season in China, Wright showed that he still had plenty of game left. He played in 37 games and averaged 30.8 minutes per game. He put up 24.3 points per game while shooting 43.8 percent from the field, pulled down 7.5 rebounds, and dished out 2.5 assists.
During his time in the NBA, he was known as a deadly three-point marksman. He’s a career 36.5 percent shooter from downtown, and he shot 35.2 percent from three-point range while in China. He was adamant that he can still be a difference maker for an NBA team.
“My shooting, my leadership, I think that’s the two things that really stick out,” Wright told Basketball Insiders. “Even being a defender on the wings. I’m just looking forward to getting into a good situation.”
During his most recent season with the HEAT, Wright mostly rode the bench, appearing in only five playoff games (3.8 minutes per game). In those limited minutes, however, he did manage to shoot 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from beyond the arc.
Roster spots are few and far between, but Wright is confident that something will work out in his favor.
“I made that loud and clear as far as letting people know [how] serious I am to get back in the NBA,” Wright told Basketball Insiders. “I know it’s going to happen, I’m all into putting it in the universe, and something’s gonna work out in my favor.”
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