Why Dorell Wright?

Philip Maymin
Basketball News Services 

Pat Riley says he sees a bit of Penny Hardaway in Dorell Wright. Does that mean that in two-three years we will see Wright, a 6-7 forward out of high school, playing the point? If so, then who exactly will be his mentor? There's no Tim Hardaway on the Heat roster. Perhaps there were other reasons for selecting Dorell Wright.

Many observers think that Wright was a poor choice given Jameer Nelson was still available, and Riley acknowledged his was not the most popular choice. In terms of helping the team win now, Wright is clearly a ways away, whereas Nelson would have been able to step in relatively quickly to help lead the team on fast breaks and in setting up the offense. Instead, it is their Florida rivals the Orlando Magic who will have Nelson at point.

But Riley may be pulling the wool over people's eyes. He has continued to talk up Wright in detail after drafting him, saying he impressed them significantly in private workouts and in high school All-Star games, and that he is less away from being ready than people may think.

Why is Riley doing the hard sell on Dorell Wright?

Is it because he's trade bait?

It's no secret that Miami needs a big and maybe a point, and given the draft is over, they will have to look to free agency. Could Riley have thought the chip of having the rights to Wright might be worth more to other teams in terms of trade value than having the rights to Nelson?

Could Riley be trying to set up a trade with a team that has a big but could use a project? Obviously Wright would not be the main trading chip but the little bit of extra spice thrown in to make it work. Riley is probably trying to move Eddie Jones or perhaps even Brian Grant or both, because of their heavy contracts. Throwing in Wright to a potential suitor may just sweeten the deal.

Unfortunately, the only team that had numerous reports of having eyes for Wright were the Boston Celtics, and they already have a glut at the swingman position. If the Celtics were still interested in Wright, and preferred him over Nelson, and they thought they could move Mark Blount in a sign-and-trade, and they were willing to take a large contract in return, then all of Riley's machinations start to make a little sense.

But only a very little. That's just way too many if's for Boston, the largest of all being their willingness to take a large contract.

If no trade was imminent, then we're just going to have to hope this high school kid will be the next big thing. Miami fans ought to brace themselves for several more seasons of watching five swing players on the court.

Sharon Robb ofThe South Florida Sun-Sentinelwrites: Fort Lauderdale-based Team Freedom promoter Leon Margules is covering all bases for Saturday's Showtime Championship Boxing "Fighting For Freedom" pro card at AmericanAirlines Arena. In addition to several former pro champions on the 11-bout card -- including former Cuban national champions Joel Casamayor, Eliseo Castillo and Diobelys Hurtado -- rapper Fat Joe and Tito Puente Jr. will perform during the show. Fat Joe manages Allen Conyers, who is on the undercard. The Miami Heat is giving away vouchers for one free ticket to an exhibition game to anyone who buys a ticket to the boxing show.


Larry Stewart ofThe LA Timeswrites: Senegal native Pape Sow, a 6-10 former Titan center projected to play power forward in the NBA, was drafted in the second round by the Miami Heat. Sow, a guest of Rick Schwartz and Ray Crockett on XTRA the night of the draft, said he hadn't yet called his parents in Dakar to give them the news. So Schwartz volunteered to make the call, even though Sow's parents speak only Wolof.With Sow translating, Schwartz asked Sow's father what the first thing was he wanted his son to buy for his parents. Sow's father, after checking with his wife, said, "A house." Apparently they understand the way things work in the U.S.

Warren Blatt ofThe Sports Networkwrites: The Heat selected high school forward Dorell Wright with the 19th pick in the first round. Wright over Nelson? Another team that made a mistake.

Lacy J. Banks ofThe Chicago Sun-Timeswrites: "When you see them, these kids are developed,'' Miami Heat president Pat Riley said."The bodies are cut. They have NBA bodies. They have somewhat of an NBA game. The only thing you ask yourself about is about experience. Until the NBA puts an age limit on this thing, you're still going to see people take these kids.'' So don't be surprised if 20 high school players get drafted in the first round next summer. 

Art Garcia ofThe Ft. Worth Star-Telegramwrites: As his former teammates train in North Texas -- a place he once called home -- Wang Zhizhi remains estranged from his country and the team he once represented in the Olympics.Since breaking a commitment to rejoin the Chinese national team after the 2001-02 NBA season, Wang isn't any closer to returning to his homeland. The professional career of the former Mavericks center has led from one coast to the other, from the Los Angeles Clippers to the Miami Heat, as he struggles to find his place in the NBA.