Delon Wright

Wizards Notes: Wright, Nunn, Morris, Gill, Unseld Jr.

While Delon Wright was recovering from a severely strained hamstring, he was able to notice how much the Wizards need him, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. The numbers back up his observation — Washington is 13-6 with Wright in the lineup, but only 7-20 when he doesn’t play. He’s especially been a difference-maker on defense, where the team’s rating is 6.0 points better with him on the court.

“Once I had seen that I have that type of impact on the game, it made me more confident. It made me feel more welcome here,” Wright said. “A lot of times when you get to a certain team, they will say that you can do certain things. But even if you’re doing it, you still might get subbed or might not have your minutes as much as you want. Here I feel like I’m playing a decent amount of minutes and my role is enormous.”

It’s a rare feeling for Wright, who is with his seventh team in the past five seasons. He’s being used as a backup, starting just one of the 19 games he has played, but he’s having a significant impact in his 20.9 minutes per night, leading the league in steals per 36 minutes.

“I actually signed (with the Wizards), so that means a little more than getting traded for,” Wright said. “I feel the most confident I’ve been with an organization since I was in Toronto (from 2015-19).”

There’s more on the Wizards:

  • Kendrick Nunn had a strong debut for Washington on Wednesday in his first game since being acquired from the Lakers in the Rui Hachimura trade, notes Bijan Todd of NBC Sports Washington. Nunn expected to have a larger role in L.A. after signing with the team in free agency in 2021, but a knee injury prevented him from playing last year and he was averaging just 13.5 minutes per night in 39 games this season. He played 22 minutes in his first game with the Wizards and helped spark a comeback with 12 points, four rebounds and four assists. “I just wanted to come in and impact winning,” Nunn said. “Play hard, be aggressive, be myself and just impact winning.”
  • Monte Morris has provided the type of leadership at point guard that the Wizards were hoping for, but that may made him of the team’s best trade assets heading into the deadline, according to Ava Wallace of The Washington Post. General manager Tommy Sheppard doesn’t plan to blow up the team’s core, Wallace adds, but more roster moves are likely coming.
  • Anthony Gill has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols and will miss tonight’s game in New Orleans, Wallace tweets.
  • In an interview with Wes Hall of NBC Sports Washington (video link), coach Wes Unseld Jr. talks about the challenges he has faced midway through his second season with the team.

Southeast Notes: M. Williams, Kuzma, Wright, O. Robinson

Hornets fans anxious to see rookie center Mark Williams are getting their chance with Nick Richards still considered day-to-day due to a right ankle sprain, writes Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer.

After playing just 13 minutes in three games prior to this week, Williams logged a total of 34 minutes on Monday and Tuesday and acquitted himself well, registering 15 points, eight rebounds, three steals, and a pair of blocks. He also had a positive net rating in both games despite the fact that the Hornets lost by 11 and five points, respectively.

“He was impressive,” Hornets head coach Steve Clifford said after Monday’s loss. “The way he handled himself, his poise on the court, his basket protection, we were very organized when we were on the floor. He did a good job in his pick-and-roll coverage and I thought he did a really, really, good job.”

As Williams makes a bid for a larger role in Charlotte, here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Although Marc Stein reported earlier in the week that Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma is considered increasingly likely to be available at this season’s deadline, not everyone is hearing the same thing. One league source who spoke to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype said that the Wizards internally consider Kuzma to be a “big part of the future.”
  • After winning in Sacramento on Friday and vs. Philadelphia on Tuesday, the Wizards are now 5-1 this season when Delon Wright is active. Head coach Wes Unseld Jr. suggested after Tuesday’s victory that the team’s success when Wright plays isn’t merely coincidental, per Josh Robbins of The Athletic. “His impact was immediate, even just picking up (opposing ballhandlers), pestering (them),” Unseld said. “You know, it’s tough when you’ve got minute restrictions, for good reason, but he does a lot of good things out there, and some of them that don’t fall into the box score. But there’s a presence, and I think guys (on the other team) are kind of looking over their shoulder because they know he has a defensive feel to him.”
  • Heat center Orlando Robinson is making a strong impression on the team with his recent performances, including a 15-point, nine-rebound showing against Minnesota on Monday, but he can only be active for 27 more games due to the limitations of his two-way contract, observes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Robinson’s recent play prompts Chiang to wonder if the big man is emerging as the frontrunner to take Miami’s 15th standard roster spot later in the season once signing a player will no longer put the team’s salary into the tax.

Wizards Notes: Avdija, Wright, Goodwin, Hachimura

Wizards forward Deni Avdija practiced on a limited basis on Monday after missing the last two games with lower back soreness, Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets. Avdija is the only player on the injury report and he’s listed as questionable, the team tweets. Will Barton, who has also battled back soreness, practiced on a limited basis as well.

We have more on the Wizards:

  • With Rui Hachimura and guard Delon Wright back in the rotation after missing significant time due to injuries, the team’s defense should be on the improve, Ava Wallace of The Washington Post notes. Wright could be the team’s best perimeter defender. “We’ve talked about at length his ability to contain one-on-one,” head coach Wes Unseld Jr. said. “Hopefully, that helps minimize some of the points in the paint. He’s got great size, hand activity.”
  • Two-way player Jordan Goodwin is expected to remain with the team for the time being despite the return of Wright, Wallace reports in the same story. The Wizards want to avoid overloading Wright, starter Monte Morris and the other guards. Goodwin has a solid grip on the third-string point guard spot over No. 10 pick Johnny Davis, who has appeared in 14 games with the G League’s Capital City Go-Go.
  • Hachimura has been indispensable to the Wizards’ second unit this season because of his ability to provide instant offense, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Despite missing 16 games, Hachimura leads the Wizards in double-digit scoring games off the bench with 14. It’s a pivotal season for Hachimura, who’s headed for restricted free agency next summer with a current qualifying offer of $8,486,620.

Injury Updates: Middleton, Maxey, Booker, Wright, Tate

After making his season debut on December 2 following offseason wrist surgery, Bucks wing Khris Middleton has now missed four consecutive games with right knee soreness. Head coach Mike Budenholzer provided an update on Middleton’s status ahead of Friday’s game against the Nets, tweets Eric Nehm of The Athletic.

I think, I would say he is making progress, probably not at the rate we had hoped,” Budenholzer said. “To be able to get work in, to be ready to play — it’s really still, he only played I think four, five games — so there’s still that being ready for an NBA game and all that goes into that. So, we’ll see how the next 24, 48 hours go. … But I think overall we’re encouraged. And I think he’s in a good place and he’ll play when he’s ready. It’s a long season. We have to be patient. It’s hard for Khris. It’s hard for us, but just keep the big picture in mind always.”

While Budenholzer is typically vague when giving health updates, hopefully the fact that Middleton’s knee has been slow to respond doesn’t keep him out of action for much longer. Through seven games (24.6 MPG), the three-time All-Star is averaging 11.1 PPG, 2.6 RPG and 4.4 APG.

Here are some more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Sixers head coach Doc Rivers isn’t confident that Tyrese Maxey will return for Sunday’s matchup against the Knicks, but he provided an encouraging update on Friday, per Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “He’s making great progress,” Rivers said. “[He] had a great workout [Thursday], so he’s close.” The third-year guard has been sidelined since November 18 after suffering a foot fracture.
  • Suns star Devin Booker has been dealing with groin soreness since Saturday’s victory over New Orleans, with Friday marking his third straight missed game. Head coach Monty Williams isn’t sure when the shooting guard will be back in action, according to Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports (Twitter link). He’s been shooting the last couple of days. Not moving as much, but is progressing a bit…he’s chomping at the bit. As you can imagine, Book’s frustrated when he can’t play,” Williams said, adding that he wouldn’t speculate about whether Booker would play on Sunday.
  • The Wizards announced that guard Delon Wright, who has missed the team’s past 29 games with a hamstring injury, would be back in action on Friday against Sacramento, per Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington (Twitter link). Wright should bolster the Wizards’ defense, which ranks 22nd in the NBA.
  • Jae’Sean Tate has been sidelined since October 30 due to a right ankle injury, having made just three appearances for the Rockets thus far this season. However, head coach Stephen Silas said on Friday that the forward’s return “looks like it will be pretty soon,” tweets Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle.

Southeast Notes: Young, McMillan, Collins, Wright, Beal, Oladipo

Hawks guard Trae Young and head coach Nate McMillan both downplayed an alleged confrontation that occurred earlier this month, but there has been chatter that their relationship has gotten worse since then, according to Steve Bulpett of, who said one league executive referred to the situation in Atlanta as “toxic.”

“When they win, everybody’s happy for a minute,” one source told Bulpett. “But when they lose, it gets messy. Instead of trying to get it figured out, there’s a lot of blame being thrown around.”

According to Bulpett, one opposing coach said that Young and McMillan don’t like each other, and suggested that “other players have issues with Trae” as well.

“There were teams that questioned whether he’d ever be this good because of his size when he was coming out,” a front office source said of Young. “So it’s good to have that kind of fight in you. But at some point, you’d hope he’d realize the effect he can have on his team, both positive and negative. Sometimes you have to take a step back and maybe take a hit to make the whole thing work.”

Meanwhile, although John Collins‘ name has once again come up in trade rumors, sources who spoke to Bulpett pointed to the big man’s contract as a potential roadblock as the Hawks seek a trade partner. He’s still owed $78.5MM across three seasons after this one.

“He’s not a bad player. He’s actually a good player,” a source told Bulpett. “The problem is he’s not worth 23-and-a-half million. There are places he could go where he’d really be helping a team and really be happy, but right now that contract is in the way. We’ll see if anyone’s going to bite or if Atlanta’s going to make it worth another team’s while.”

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Asked on Tuesday if there’s a chance Delon Wright will return to action for the Wizards on Thursday, head coach Wes Unseld Jr. responded, “I hope so,” tweets Josh Robbins of The Athletic. Wright has been on the shelf for nearly two months, but finally seems on the verge of being reactivated.
  • In a story for The Athletic, Robbins and Jovan Buha explore whether it’s realistic to think the Wizards and Lakers could work out a trade that sends Bradley Beal to Los Angeles for Russell Westbrook and draft picks. Robbins is skeptical, but points out that Beal’s no-trade clause will make it challenging for the Wizards to maximize the guard’s value if he ever wants to be dealt, since he could veto deals to unwanted destinations.
  • With several Heat regulars unavailable, Victor Oladipo made his first start of the year and played a season-high 34 minutes in Tuesday’s loss to Chicago. As Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel relays, head coach Erik Spoelstra made it clear after the game that he doesn’t intend to lean that heavily on Oladipo often as he continues to work his way back to 100%. “I wouldn’t have done this with Vic if it wasn’t clearly communicated with him and with the training staff and if we didn’t have two days after the last game, two days before the next game,” Spoelstra said.

Southeast Notes: Wright, Hachimura, Collins, Oladipo

The Wizards may get some reinforcements in their backcourt within the next week. As Josh Robbins of The Athletic (Twitter link) relays, head coach Wes Unseld Jr. said on Wednesday that he’s “hopeful” Delon Wright will be able to return at some point during the team’s current six-game road trip, which runs through December 23.

Sidelined since October 25 due to a hamstring strain, Wright is trending in the right direction, according to Unseld. The veteran guard is perhaps Washington’s strongest perimeter defender, so the hope is that he can help improve a unit that has ranked 28th in the NBA in defensive rating during the club’s current eight-game losing streak.

Meanwhile, injured Wizards forward Rui Hachimura is also making progress, though he doesn’t appear quite as close to returning to action. According to Robbins (Twitter link), Unseld said on Wednesday that Hachimura has progressed to doing one-on-one contact work as he makes his way back from a bone bruise in his ankle. The former lottery pick last played on November 18.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Although the Wizards entered the season hoping to be a playoff team, Robbins could envision them becoming sellers at the trade deadline if things continue to go south, he writes in his latest mailbag for The Athletic. As Robbins observes, the team will have to go 30-23 the rest of the way to even finish at .500, so the front office should “at least reconsider” its original plan.
  • John Collins‘ name continues to pop up in trade rumors, but it sounds like the Hawks big man will remain on the shelf for the foreseeable future. Speaking on Wednesday to reporters, including Lauren L. Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link), head coach Nate McMillan said Collins hasn’t done much running or cutting and has mostly been limited to spot shooting as he recovers from a left ankle sprain.
  • The Heat‘s current road trip, which opened with stops in Indiana, Oklahoma City, and Houston, has been something of a “nostalgia tour” for guard Victor Oladipo, who previously played in all three of those cities, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. Reflecting on the twists and turns his career has taken so far, Oladipo said he’s focused on forging a new path in Miami. “My journey, my purpose is not done,” he said.

Scotto’s Latest: Bulls, Mavs, Suns, Muscala, Wright

A number of NBA executives who have spoken to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype are “closely monitoring” the Bulls, Scotto told co-host Yossi Gozlan in the latest episode of the HoopsHype podcast. With Chicago off to an underwhelming 9-14 start and with no indication of when Lonzo Ball might be back on the court, teams are curious to see whether the club might become a seller.

There’s “a lot” of league-wide interest in DeMar DeRozan, according to Scotto, who says Nikola Vucevic is another name that figures to pop up in trade rumors over the next couple months. Scotto adds that some teams would have interest in Zach LaVine too, but the Bulls seem unlikely to move him midway through the first season of a five-year, maximum-salary contract.

Having signed with the Bulls over the summer, Goran Dragic and Andre Drummond will become trade-eligible on December 15, and Scotto suggests they could be worth keeping an eye on if Chicago does decide to sell, since both players are low-cost veterans who could slide into rotation roles on playoff teams.

Here are a few more highlights from the podcast:

  • With JaVale McGee out of the rotation, it’s possible the Mavericks could peruse the trade market in search of another center. According to Scotto, if Dallas does look into that possibility, any trade target would have to be an upgrade defensively and a contrast to Christian Wood.
  • Scotto has heard from some executives that the Suns ideally don’t want to add any extra salary to their books in a Jae Crowder trade. Crowder is on an expiring $10.2MM deal.
  • Thunder big man Mike Muscala drew interest from about 10 teams as a free agent this past offseason, so if Oklahoma City is willing to make him available, he’d likely be a popular low-cost target, says Scotto. Due to the terms of his contract, Muscala has the ability to veto any trade that involves him.
  • The Wizards hope to get Delon Wright within the next two weeks, per Scotto. A weekend report suggested the veteran guard could even be back in action this week.

Wizards Notes: Beal, Wright, Hachimura, Gafford

The Wizards are at a critical point in their season and they may have to navigate it without Bradley Beal, writes Josh Robbins of The Athletic. Sunday’s loss to the Lakers was Washington’s sixth in its last seven games, and a challenging schedule looms for the rest of the month. There is concern about the status of Beal, who suffered a strained hamstring while diving for a ball midway through the first quarter and didn’t return to the game. He will undergo testing today to determine the extent of the injury.

“First of all, hopefully, he doesn’t have to miss that many games,” Corey Kispert said. “I’m praying for Brad, absolutely. He’s the heart and soul of our team. We need him on the floor. But whether it’s a good thing or not, we’ve experienced playing without Brad last year. A lot of guys on this team did that. We know exactly what to do, just kind of a mindset change and a little bit of a style change. But we need (Beal) on the floor. We want him out there.”

Beal, a three-time All-Star, is scoring more efficiently this season, shooting a career-best 52.2% from the field and 35.2% from three-point range. Robbins notes that the Wizards were able to go 4-2 when Beal was in the health and safety protocols earlier this season, with Kyle Kuzma taking on more of a facilitating role.

There’s more from Washington:

  • Free agent addition Delon Wright, who has been sidelined since suffering a Grade 2 hamstring strain in the fourth game of the season, may be able to return this week, Robbins adds. Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. told reporters that Rui Hachimura is still “day to day” after missing eight games with a bone bruise in his right ankle.
  • Two-way guard Devon Dotson and lottery pick Johnny Davis both entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols while in the G League, Robbins tweets.
  • Daniel Gafford relied on support from his wife and his friends while seeing limited playing time in November, per Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Gafford scored a season-high 20 points Sunday after posting season-best marks with 12 rebounds and six blocks in Friday’s game. “Take a deep breath, it’s going to be okay,” Gafford said. “You might have a bad night this night, but you can come back the next night and you can prove that that wasn’t you. Just be better than the day before. In our bathroom, me and my wife, we have sticky notes of motivational things that we’ve said to each other over the times. Every morning I look at that and it helps me out a lot. I actually take the time out to look at that. So, really just finding ways to clear out my mental.”

Delon Wright Expected To Miss At Least Three More Weeks

Wizards guard Delon Wright, who has been on the shelf since October 25 due to a Grade 2 right hamstring strain, was reevaluated this week and has been cleared to begin individual on-court basketball activities, the team announced (via Twitter).

Although it sounds like Wright is making progress toward a return, he still has a little ways to go. According to the Wizards, it will be three weeks until Wright is reevaluated again, so he’ll be sidelined until at least mid-December.

When Wright was originally diagnosed with the injury, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the veteran guard was expected to miss about six-to-eight weeks. That was nearly four weeks ago, so Wright still has a chance to return within that estimated timeline.

After winning three of the four games Wright played, the Wizards went into a mini-tailspin without arguably their top perimeter defender, losing five of their next six. They’ve since righted the ship, winning six of their last seven contests and moving into a tie for fifth place in the East at 10-7.

With Wright unavailable, two-way player Jordan Goodwin has entered the rotation and has performed admirably, averaging 6.4 PPG, 3.9 RPG, and 2.7 APG on .553/.563/.500 shooting in 10 appearances (19.5 MPG).

Wizards Notes: Beal, Wright, Gill, Avdija

Delon Wright‘s hamstring injury has forced Bradley Beal to initiate the Wizards’ offense more often, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington notes. There isn’t another traditional point guard on the roster outside of starter Monte Morris.

In the last two games, Beal only scored a combined 32 points. He also made a season-high four turnovers against Philadelphia on Monday.

“I’m going to try to do something that reads the flow of the game. It’s been a challenge, but at the same time, it’s where we are,” Beal said. “They’re depending on me. I’ve got to do a better job of taking care of the ball and making crisper and smarter decisions.”

We have more on the Wizards:

  • While Wright’s absence affects the entire rotation, The Athletic’s Josh Robbins notes that the starting five was outplayed by its counterparts in losses to Indiana and Boston over the weekend.
  • Anthony Gill was inserted into the lineup against the Sixers and his off-the-ball movement had a positive impact, according to Ava Wallace of the Washington Post. But outside of Kristaps Porzingis‘ 32 points, the Wizards continued to struggle at both ends while losing their third straight. Gill felt the team’s offensive issues spilled over to the defensive end. “We have a bunch of guys on our team who are capable of scoring 20 points a night, so when they aren’t scoring 20 points, it affects the defense,” Gill said. “They’re scorers, so when they’re not scoring, they’re not in the rhythm of the game.”
  • Deni Avdija was the odd man out with Gill taking his spot in the lineup. Avdija went scoreless in 17 minutes off the bench but the Wizards are hopeful he’ll feel more comfortable with an expanded offensive role in the second unit, according to Hughes. “I trust the coaching staff and I trust myself to figure it out. I’ll be fine,” Avdija said.