Dorell Wright Scores 30 Points in Debut

Philip Maymin
Basketball News Services 

Dorell Wright played two games in last night's summer league opener against the Washington Wizards. In the first half, he struggled mightily and made every Heat fan on Earth wonder why Miami shrugged past Jameer Nelson, as Wright got just five points to go with his five turnovers and the Heat trailed the Wizards 47-19. Then, when it finally didn't matter anymore, Wright exploded in the second half to finish with a game-high 30 points on 12-of-22 shooting. The Heat lost89-59and the rookie out of high school scored more than half his team's points in the losing effort.

He seemed to be bumped around a lot but his performance did have people salivating at his potential by the end of the game. For a team comprised of wing players, here is one more that could be great in a handful of years. "I got a little nervous," he said, "but I decided to stick with it and play my game."

In response to the fiasco that seemed to be his shots being continuously blocked by a variety of players, Wright shrugged, "I got my shot blocked a couple times but I just have to get my shot off quicker." In the second half, he certainly was not shy about taking shots, and the best thing is he was not ineffective. It is unfair to brand him a ballhog since he did make most of the shots he took.

On the other side of the court, however, could be his greatest liability for now. Defensively, he was unable to stop his assignment. Wright said that defense, and strength, are the two things he will be looking to work at.

The Heat will participate in the second annual Orlando Pepsi Pro Summer League July 6-10 at the RDV Sportsplex in Maitland, Florida. Their next game will be today, Wednesday, July 7th, versus the Cleveland Cavaiers at 3:00 p.m. EDT. The complete schedule is as follows: 

*Tuesday, July 6th - Washington 89 - Miami 59
*Wednesday, July 7th - Cleveland - 3:00 p.m. EDT
*Thursday, July 8th - New Jersey - 7:00 p.m. EDT
*Friday, July 9th - Orlando - 5:00 p.m. EDT
*Saturday, July 10th - Boston - 10:00 a.m. EDT

Nate Green led the Heat squad with two blocked shots. He and Marcus Moore each had a team-high two assists. Darius Rice led the Heat with three offensive rebounds and eight total rebounds.


Dick Hogan ofThe News-Presswrites: Miami Heat President Pat Riley has sold 157 acres of The Forum for a single-family home project — giving new life to the 706-acre project that has seen a succession of development plans going back to the 1980s.Riley, former coach of the Heat, bought the land east of Interstate 75 between State Road 82 and Colonial Boulevard in 1998 for $12.5 million. His company, AGB LLC, sold the 157 acres to Naples-based MDG Capital Corp. for $8.5 million recently. Within the past several months, The Forum has seen work begin on a single-family home project by D.R. Horton called The Colonnade, an apartment complex by The Sterling Companies called The Legends, and a commercial development by JED called The Galleria.

Mark Stein ofESPNwrites: Rafer Alston, whose transformation from a street-ball legend to a playoff point guard with Miami proved one of the season's more uplifting stories, has reached a verbal agreement with the Toronto Raptors on a six-year deal believed to be worth $29 million, league sources told Miami had hoped to re-sign the guard widely known as Skip To My Lou for his role in the And1 Mix Tape series, but the Heat was reportedly hoping to split its $5 million mid-level exception between Alston and a power player such as Boston's Mark Blount. When new Toronto general manager Rob Babcock came with a strong offer to lure him back to Canada, Alston agreed to become Babcock's first free-agent signing.

Ira Winderman ofThe South Florida Sun-Sentinelwrites: Dorell Wright inspired two thoughts Tuesday, in the following order, as the Heat's first-round draft choice made his pro debut: The kid is raw. The kid could be special. Playing very much like the 18-year-old that he is, the 6-foot-7, 193-pound guard was practically humbled into submission by an NBA-savvy group of veterans the Washington Wizards put on the court in the opener of the Pepsi Pro Summer League."I was really nervous out there at first," said Wright, the No. 19 pick in last month's draft. "I was going like 100 miles per hour." In eight first-quarter minutes, Wright had five turnovers against the likes of Jarvis Hayes, Jared Jeffries, Jelani McCoy, Steve Blake and Michael Ruffin. And then, gradually, something remarkable happened -- the kid came of age. Limited to five points on 2-of-6 shooting at halftime, Wright literally burst upon the scene to close with 30 points on 12-of-22 shooting and only one additional turnover over his 33 minutes.

Ira Winderman ofThe South Florida Sun-Sentinelwrites: Having made it onto Shaquille O'Neal's wish list, the Heat is not getting too carried away with playing fantasy basketball. As dissension between the Lakers and O'Neal seemingly continues to grow, the massive center has made it known that a trade to the Heat would meet with his approval... With O'Neal to earn $29.5 million next season, a Heat proposal likely would have to start with power forward Lamar Odom, small forward Caron Butler and shooting guard Eddie Jones or center Brian Grant... Pfund said the free-agent market still is at a stage where a team limited to salary-cap exceptions, such as the Heat, has to wait until the big spenders finish spending. 

Israel Gutierrez ofThe Miami Heraldwrites: For the first 20 minutes of Tuesday's game, Dorell Wright probably was thankful the Pro Summer League is not open to the public. Fortunately, Wright had a second half to make a first impression. Wright had five points and five turnovers in the first half but recovered to finish with 30 points on 12-of-22 shooting with five rebounds and two steals in the Heat's 89-59 loss to the more experienced Washington Wizards summer team. Despite the impressive numbers, no one is ready to proclaim Wright the next LeBron James. Not after watching the No. 19 pick in the draft get pushed around, bullied into six turnovers and have a handful of his shots blocked or deflected.