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Julian Wright: "Careless" and "Erratic"

Thanks to Ace Boogie for giving the heads up on this article about JuJu. The Times-Pic has uncovered Byron's rationale for benching Wright. The whole article is a good read (or a bad read, I suppose), but I'll pick out some specific parts with my take on them.

The article certainly starts with a bang: "If you're wondering if second-year forward Julian Wright will be returning to the Byron Scott's rotation any time soon, the answer is no," before getting to Byron's reasoning:

"He's got a lot to learn, and sometimes he goes in and is very unsure of himself. Other times, he's just making careless mistakes. So it's just a matter of him right now sitting and watching and learning that way and using practice as his games. But I'm sure he'll be back in there."

This is really, really, really, really stupid. I've never been that mad at Byron's other doghouse inductees: Kirk Snyder and J.R. Smith had some serious attitude issues and wanted to play just one side of the ball. Rasual Butler was really struggling with his shot all last year. Mike James got something of a tryout (whether it was long enough is a different story). But the Julian Wright deal is totally different. For starters, he's among the most grounded guys in the league. He's nothing but respectful to his teammates and the coaching staff during interviews. I've never heard him assign a word of blame to someone other than himself. He's never had legal issues, and his college coaching staff at Kansas raves about him.

Fine, he's struggling a little bit this year. Shooting percentage down, turnover rate up, rebounding down, defensive intensity a bit down. Look at his minutes though! Look at the shots he's forced to take! He plays 10 minutes a game, and his shots always come with the shot clock winding down. He's being forced to create under horrible circumstances, and it's being held against him? Aside from all that, it's not like he's the one member of the bench dragging the second unit down. Hilton Armstrong has a decent case for worst player in the entire league. How come Melvin Ely doesn't get his minutes? Why does Devin Brown get a pass for shooting ten percent worse than Wright?

The comment that really annoys me from Byron is this:

"One of my coaches said, 'When you put him in the game, both coaches are fearful because we don't know what he's going to do.' I don't know. The other coach doesn't know."

"Fearful"? Seriously? That's exactly how you destroy a young player's confidence. Maybe this is Byron's way of motivating JuJu. Maybe it's his way of motivating the guys who currently have JuJu's minutes. But maybe it's the cause of Wright's first step towards the door. That would be unforgivable.