A Farewell to Julian Wright

Julian Wright had to have been one of the most confounding fellows in Hornets history (it's amusing to me that Courtney Alexander, for all y'all that remember him, also wore #32). He's a mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped inside a dude that can jump really high. He's a guy that will shoot 56.2 eFG% one year and follow it up with a 56.7% free throw percentage the next. He's a chap that drives us all mad. It's sad that the following, now famous video would turn out to be such a good predictor of Julian's career.. but it certainly has.

Jump with me.

Three years after the fact, it's clear the commentary in that clip is just  too perfect:

"Julian Wright! Playing some D!! And then it's showtime! JULIAN WRIGHT!! OOOOOAAOOAAOO!! NO!!! OHOHOHOHO ...  AHAHAHAAHAHA!!!" 

That's the most eloquent description of Julian Wright's career arc, ever. 

We've reached the point now where JuJu is basically an afterthought in the league He refused to play in Vegas, against Monty Williams' requests, he played a relatively awful season, and he regressed almost across the board. Even the most optimistic and ridiculous trade dreamer-uppers don't consider him an asset any more.

This story isn't really meant as a defense of Wright. Yeah, sure, he's still insanely athletic, but his play doesn't warrant much defending. Instead, it's more about his situation in the league and how he's perceived. For example, consider the following comparison:

Player

Age

PER

TS%

eFG%

Reb%

Ast%

Tov%

ORtg

DMult

Guy

22

13.1

52.2

50.7

10.7

8.5

14.9

102

0.899

Dude

23

12.7

52.2

48.2

9.6

8.1

12.6

102

0.987

In this situation, Dude is OKC's Jeff Green and Guy is Mr. Wright. All stats are career stats, except for DMult (which is B-P's proprietary defensive statistic and is 2009-2010). Green is considered a pretty integral part of OKC's plans for global domination, while Guy, aka Wright, was barely considered a bit player in New Orleans' desperate plans to possibly scratch out a first round victory and appease Chris Paul. As we look at these rate statistics, it's clear that Wright has outperformed Green. And yet, it's Green that's gotten significantly more minutes and far more positive publicity. Just last week, I read a news story grouping Green into Oklahoma City's "Big 3."

But comparing a mediocre player to another subpar, overrated player doesn't exactly prove anything. So what's the point here? 

The point is, in three seasons, Julian Wright never found a fit in New Orleans. Coaching, his own motivation, and many other factors can be blamed. But if Toronto can convince him to keep working hard behind the scenes, Wright, potentially under contract until 2014, will surely have one more chance. 

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