Where is Brandan Wright? After resigning with the Mavericks during the offseason, Wright was supposed to be an anchor on the bench in terms of scoring and efficiency. He has certainly remained efficient but his scoring has taken a noticeable dive over the last six games. With Dallas' bench continuing their mediocre play, it is important to get Wright back on track.
Last season, the Mavericks had the highest scoring bench in the NBA. They were led by Vince Carter and Wright. This season, led by the same two players, the bench has seen a dramatic fall-off in production. Of course, Wright was injured for much of the early going so that plays a factor in the decline but Carter has not been able to maintain his miraculous shooting touch, though his shots are falling more frequently now. While Carter is the unquestioned leader of the bench, it is Wright who may be the most important cog in Dallas' bench rotation. That is why his recent scoring trend is all the more alarming.
Over the last six games, Wight has not scored in double figures, averaging just 6.5 points in those contests. He only failed to reach double digit scoring just three times in his first nine games and averaged 11.4 points. A five point drop is no small matter for a player that has a reputation as a scorer.
A major factor in his scoring decline rests in the number of shots he is getting. In these six games, Wight is only attempting 5.3 shots. In the nine games prior, he attempted 6.7 shots. While an approximate one and a half shot differential may seem inconsequential, it matters a great deal. Wright is a highly efficient scorer. On the season he is shooting 66.3 percent from the floor. The likely hood of him connecting on that extra shot attempt is therefore rather great.
It is not just Wright. Though he plays a major part, the entire bench is scoring fewer points. On the season, Dallas' bench scores 31.3 points per game. If it weren't for two outlier games against San Antonio and Orlando, where the bench produced 45 and 42 points, respectively, their scoring numbers would be considerably lower than their season average.
The worst bench performance of the last six games came against the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday night. Carter and Wright were the only players from the bench to score, totaling 18 points. (10 and eight, respectively.) However, Dirk Nowitzki dropped 40 points that night so bench scoring was not at a premium.
Wright's shooting was especially disheartening against the Magic. Playing mostly at power forward, he totaled just two points, connecting on just one of his five shots in 23 minutes. It was the culmination of the current trend.
Nonetheless, the Mavericks need to get Wright back on track. There is no reason that his numbers should dip so much. He is integral to the overall scoring punch that the Mavs produce. Carter should not have to carry the reserves each and every night.
While this is a small sample size, it should be watched. It would be much better for the Mavericks to nip this trend rather than allowing it to be prolonged any further. Hopefully, though, it is simply a small blip in a long season.