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News » Coming off bench all wrong for Wright

Coming off bench all wrong for Wright

Coming off bench all wrong for WrightAntoine Wright never knows how any particular Basketball game will play out, and as he takes his seat on the Raptors bench to start the nightly proceedings he works his mind as much as his body.

In a new role on a new team with new responsibilities, Wright admits the transition from Dallas starter to Toronto backup has not been as seamless as he expected.

"It's a little different for me," the 25-year-old swingman said prior to Friday night's game against the Clippers. "You definitely have some advantages to starting a game off and getting into a flow, but there's no time to make excuses (coming off the bench). You have to get into the rhythm that the team wants you to be in.

"I think it's just going to be an adjustment for me."

Wright started 53 games for the guard-heavy Mavericks a season ago, getting the nod over sixth man specialist Jason Terry and veteran Jerry Stackhouse in the process.

But after a summer blockbuster trade moved him to Toronto, his role switched to reserve because the Raptors want to start and develop rookie DeMar DeRozan in the spot Wright might have occupied.

And Wright admits it's not fully in his nature to be the kind of off-the-bench sparkplug many expect him to be. His game is more steady than dynamic, solid yet not spectacular and he's finding it hard to make a quick mark when he first gets in a game.

"It's been different for me in that respect, but I've been trying to tweak my mind a little bit, knowing that I have to come in and make an immediate impact," he said.

That's where the mental aspect of sitting out the start of games comes in.

"You have to tweak your mind a little bit after seeing what the team needs out there," he said. "Trying to carry it out isn't always easy."

Wright's impact on games isn't necessarily going to show up in the boxscore, like so many sixth men who get into the game and pile up big numbers - San Antonio's Manu Ginobili, Lamar Odom of the Lakers and Dallas' Terry.

Wright is averaging only 5.9 points and 3.1 rebounds per game, shooting just 32 per cent from the floor in 21 minutes a game, but the Raptors will live with that as long as he's doing his first job, as a defender, well.

In Wednesday's win over Chicago, he had perhaps his greatest impact, bottling up Bulls guard Derrick Rose in the decisive second half.

"Antoine is a guy, when we got him, we knew he could guard point guards," said Toronto coach Jay Triano.

"In the Western Conference, he guarded Deron Williams (Utah Jazz), he guarded Chris Paul (New Orleans) and he guarded Steve Nash (Phoenix) at times.

"(Dallas coach) Rick Carlisle used him on point guards because they didn't want to put Jason Kidd on guys all the time. He's longer ... and he can do the job."

Considering Toronto will see both Williams and Nash, along with Denver's Chauncey Billups on the road trip that began Friday night, Wright's role could increase in the next week.

While Triano has liked to finish games with a backcourt of Jose Calderon and Jarrett Jack, if Wright continues to be able to help stop great point guards in the fourth quarter, there's no doubt he'll play more in crunch time.

And all that sitting and watching he's done at the start of the game might pay off.

"I'm going to get used to it more," said Wright.

"Just taking some time, but I know what I have to do."

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 14, 2009


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