Ordinarily, it would be too early to be concerned about a player
sitting out due to a coach’s decision. The Warriors are just three games into
the exhibition season, after all.
But when the player riding the bench is forward Brandan Wright,
eyebrows are raised.
Wright was the only Warrior who didn’t play in Tuesday’s loss at
Sacramento. The previous game, Sunday against the visiting Kings,
he was yanked after 2 minutes, 23 seconds of action after making a
bad pass, and he sat the rest of the game.
No, he’s not injured. Coach Keith Smart is just not impressed
with Wright’s play thus far. But the question begs whether Wright
is rusty or just not reaching his potential.
Certainly, the Warriors need him to show and prove
as soon as possible.
“I’m not just going to sit the bench,” Wright said. I don’t feel
like they’re going to waste me.”
Thanks to the uncertainty surrounding the reserves, Wright’s
ability to produce is that much more important to the Warriors. Consistent production from
Wright would go a long way to smoothing out the rotation.
Golden State is still holding out hope that he would reach the
potential that made him the No. 8 overall pick in 2007 and prompted
the Warriors to give up fan favorite
Jason Richardson to get him.
Wright has shown some signs on the offensive end. The Warriors need someone who can score
off the bench, so Wright’s ability to finish and create offense
would be an added boost. But the Warriors don’t need just scoring.
They need him to rebound and be a presence on defense.
Wright has played 33 minutes so far this preseason. His five
rebounds are fewest of any player with 30 minutes or more. Guard
Charlie Bell has as many rebounds in five fewer minutes.
Of course, Wright hasn’t played in a regular-season game since
the end of the 2008-09 season. He’s injured his left shoulder
twice. The latter, coming in last year’s training camp, required
season-ending surgery. He acknowledged he’s still getting the rust
Smart said one of the reasons he didn’t play Wright at
Sacramento was he wanted to see signs the rust is off in
“The biggest thing is that the kid has been out a long time,”
Smart said, “and basketball-wise he hasn’t had a chance to play.
I’ve got to be cautious with him and let him get some good
practices under his belt and not put him in for spot time in