It’s a shame that I won’t really ever forget Antoine Wright. A real damn shame.
Because Antoine Wright is not very good at basketball. Well, professional basketball at least. He was only in Dallas for a year and a half, yet I will always remember him. Not for anything good of course. It was bad. Very bad.
It was back in the 2009 playoffs, after the Mavericks handled the Spurs so easily in the first round. They did it so easily that people legitimately thought the Spurs era was over. Think about that for a second – the Mavs beat the Spurs so bad in that first round, we all thought the now current defending NBA champions (who also have back-to-back NBA Finals appearances) had their last run. FIVE YEARS AGO.
So I was actually kind of excited for the second round series against the Nuggets back then. The Mavs were overmatched, talent-wise, but I still expected a competitive series and if a few things broke their way, perhaps the Mavs could steal the series.
Things did not break their way.
Case in point, we get to Antoine Wright. Here’s what he did with the Mavs leading by two in Game 3 of that series against the Nuggets. It was Denver’s final possession of the game.
What the hell is that? At first glance, it looks like an egregious error from the referees. It appears Wright CLEARLY fouls Carmelo Anthony as the Mavs had a foul to give. Sometimes in these situations, coming out of a timeout, a player or coach will tell the ref "hey, we’re gonna take our last foul to give here" just to give the ref warning about the ensuing foul. Kind of like how an NBA coach tells a ref "if they score, I want a timeout."
But look at it more closely. It’s as half-assed a foul to give that I’ve ever seen. It looks like a foul to give against the Milwaukee Bucks in early February…during the first half. It doesn’t look like Wright is trying to foul Anthony so much as he’s trying to tell Anthony to stop playing basketball for a second because basketball is hard you guys.
HE EVEN THROWS HIS HANDS UP RIGHT AFTER THE FOUL IN A "HEY I DIDN’T FOUL HIM" GESTURE. That’s the worst part. If a ref caught a quick glance of this and saw the tail end of the weak foul and THEN Wright’s reaction, I can’t really blame him for not wanting to call it. WRIGHT ACTED LIKE HE DIDN’T WANT A FOUL CALL. He didn’t seem like he wanted the foul called until Carmelo drained a wide-open three pointer and his ass looked embarrassed on national TV.
It was all just awful. With one second left, the Mavs threw up a bad shot with a bad play and Denver got to gloat all over the court. It was so bad Rick Carlisle lost all of his hair.
What made it worse was I HATED that Nuggets team. Just with every fiber of my being. Seeing them gloat and then Josh Howard get in a dumb shouting match and Cuban being dumb and pushing a camera man, it was all so annoying. I was stewing in my room for HOURS after this game.
All because of Antoine Wright. Wright, who represented the nadir of Mavericks starting two guards after Michael Finley. Once Jason Terry became glued to his sixth man role, the Mavs reeled off a stunning amount of spares at the other backcourt spot: Adrian Griffin, Devean George, Greg Buckner. Wright was just falling in line.
The astonishing thing about Wright is he didn’t really do anything. In his season starting with the Mavs, he played 23.9 minutes per game, averaged 7.3 points, 1.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 0.7 steals. He shot 41.5 percent from the floor and 30.2 percent from three. He had an 8.6 PER and his ONLY redeeming stat was he shot 50.7 percent from 16-23 feet. Super.
In other words, Wright is as adverse to stats as Jae Crowder. I think our worst fear is that Jae Crowder could turn into Antoine Wright. I shudder to imagine that future.
So thanks for everything, Antoine Wright. Thanks for losing Rick Carlisle’s hair, thanks for sucking and thanks for making a dumb play that was SO dumb I’ll never forget you, no matter how hard I try.