H: 6' 8"|
W: 211 lbs
(29 Years Old)
|RSCI: 8||Agent: Rob Pelinka ||
High School: Homewood-Flossmoor
Hometown: Flossmoor, IL
Drafted: Pick 13 in 2007 by Hornets
Best Case: Boris Diaw
Worst Case: Damien Wilkins
|Year||Source||Height w/o Shoes||Height w/shoes||Weight||Wingspan||Standing Reach||Body Fat||No Step Vert||Max Vert|
|2007||NBA Pre-Draft Camp||6' 6.5"||6' 8.5"||211||7' 2.25"||9' 0"||6.1||28.5||33.5|
|Year||Source||Height w/o Shoes||Height w/shoes||Weight||Wingspan||Standing Reach||Body Fat||No Step Vert||Max Vert|
|2007||NBA Pre-Draft Camp||6' 6.5"||6' 8.5"||211||7' 2.25"||9' 0"||6.1||28.5||33.5|
Wright may not have put up the best stat line today, but he was easily the most impressive player on the floor. The athleticism he possesses at his size is simply incredible, and coupled with his ball handling ability, makes him a very intimidating matchup. He put his court vision and passing on display today, getting into the lane at will before kicking out to open teammates for open jump shots. While his passing ability makes him an asset, his other offensive skills are still very much a work in progress. Wright didn’t look great shooting the ball, and needs to continue developing that aspect of his game. Despite his lack of perimeter shooting, Wright is too long and athletic for most of the players in attendance to keep out of the lane. That same length and athleticism provided some of the most impressive highlights of the day, including a couple of big steals for give and go alley oops, and some of the most emphatic blocks we’ve seen all week.[Read Full Article]
Wright obviously passes the eye test in person, with great size, an excellent wingspan, and plenty of room on his frame to continue to add weight. It wouldn’t shock at all if he measured out slightly taller than the 6-8 Kansas listed him at.
While Wright is clearly a 5 on 5 player who shines with his versatility and basketball IQ more so than with an array of polished skills, there was some things to take away from the drill-work we saw him conduct over two days. His shooting mechanics aren’t all that bad, and the 3-ball actually fell for him at a pretty solid rate with his feet set, even from NBA range. That’s not saying he is going to be some kind of Reggie Miller at the next level, but it is good to know that his shot isn’t broke and that with hard work he will likely become a credible threat from behind the NBA arc down the road. His shot flattens out at times and his elbow has a tendency to float, but Procopio and Grover are working extremely hard with him, and Wright seems to be soaking it up.
In the mid-range drills, Wright showed even more potential—tools that he should be able to use as early as this upcoming season. His footwork here is excellent, looking highly fluid with his jab-steps and step-drags and getting nice elevation on his jumper. It’s here that he looks the part of a 3-man the most, particularly when he decides to utilize a quick spin move to bump his man off and clear some space to get his shot off.
His ball-handling is a part of his game that still looks a little rusty, as his long arms make it a little difficult to keep control of the ball at all times, and he probably doesn’t have much practice, having played the 4-spot exclusively for the past two years.
Probably the most promising thing to come out of here is the way Wright conducts himself on the floor. He is an extremely smart, extremely coachable young man, always encouraging his teammates on during the drills and being very appreciative and responsive towards the coaching he’s receiving here. As I was interviewing him in the hallway of the entrance to the gym, Wright made sure to hold the door for every person that came and left, smiling at the children who stared at him with gazing eyes, greeting everyone, and being extremely polite and respectful. When he wasn’t playing doorman for the “Joy of the Game” gym, you could usually find him on the court, working on his jump-shot. It’s not hard to tell why people see the upside they do in him.
It was a tale of two Wrights for the Kansas sophomore versus UCLA. For the first ten minutes of the game, he appeared to be the top five pick that many have him pegged as for the 2007 draft. For the final 30 minutes of the game, he looked like a talented youngster who was lost on the floor, looking for something to come right to him rather than going and getting it himself.
To start the game, Wright was absolutely everywhere on the floor on both ends. He was keeping balls alive on the offensive glass, hit a 12 foot jumper, and made a gorgeous cut to the basket that he finished with a left-handed hook shot. The Chicago area native was remarkably active on the defensive end as well, gathering countless deflections that he turned into steals for himself or for his Jayhawk teammates. He was outstanding handling the ball in the open court and distributing the rock to the open man, accounting for all four of his assists within the game’s first ten minutes. More importantly however, he gave Luc Richard Mbah a Moute hell on the defensive end, blocking his shot a few times and not allowing him to gain post position down low, despite his obvious strength disadvantage. There was little more that one could have asked for out of Wright in these ten minutes, as he clearly appeared to be one of the elite players in this year’s draft class.
What followed in the remaining 30 minutes was quite puzzling, with Wright nowhere to be found on the court, especially on the offensive end. He had little impact on the game, not looking to penetrate or create for his teammates when he touched the ball, opting to just swing the ball around the perimeter despite the fact that he is arguably the best creator at the power forward position that the collegiate game has to offer. It truly seemed like he was scared to shoot the ball late in the game, deferring his own wide open looks to feed the ball to closely guarded teammates. On the defensive side he wasn’t getting his hands on those loose balls anymore, deflecting the same amount of passes, or putting the pressure on Mbah a Moute that he did early in the game. It was a shocking and subpar performance out of Wright in what could be his final game as a Jayhawk, based on what many implications are leading to.
Even with his below average performance against UCLA, Julian has shown enough over the last two years to cement himself in the top ten of this year’s draft no matter how poor his workouts could possibly go. His combination of size, athleticism, and perimeter skills along with his great motor make him unlike any other prospect this year’s draft has to offer. While this game certainly did not help Wright’s stock, it will not crumble it either as far too many scouts are in love with the versatile game that the Jayhawk forward brings to the table. The only question now is whether he’ll stay another year at Kansas, like he’s been adamantly saying all year long.
Scouts will always have a love/hate relationship with Julian Wright, sometimes on a game-by-game basis. It isn’t that Wright hurt his stock significantly in tonight’s matchup against Southern Illinois, as we have seen this song and dance plenty of times from the sophomore. But this game definitely left one with a stronger, more immediate impression of Wright’s less polished areas than the reasons many have him pegged as a lottery pick.
As for the lottery pick moments, even in a game like tonight’s where Wright plays soft, quiet and somewhat lethargic, it was hard to miss the most obvious NBA prospect on the court. The mid-range jumper he canned in the first half shows serious potential - Wright is a much better midrange shooter than most give him credit for. There were other flashes of a midrange game as well, and those trademark flashes to the basket, in which he can cover a scary amount of ground in a very short time.
But Wright had very little impact on this game overall, playing just about as scared as his guard teammates most of the way. He could muster just 4 rebounds in 28 minutes, and certainly didn’t add the physical presence that Kansas needed from somebody in the frontcourt the entire game. Several moments showed potential cause for concern. One would be a Wright-led 1-on-3 fast break, in which he originally made the right decision to slow up, but then pressed the issue when the Saluki defense appeared reluctant to stop the ball, and threw up a soft, air-ball floater instead of going up strong and using his considerable athleticism and length to maneuver his way to the basket. The second came late in the game, when he had the chance to bring down a crucial rebound and had the ball ripped out of his hands by the more aggressive Southern Illinois player.
In the end, Wright isn’t judged by the occasional performance like this. We all know he is a perimeter player trying to fill in as a 4-man at Kansas, and that the level of back to the basket toughness and intensity that could help his team out so much now won’t always be required of him at the next level. Players as long as Wright usually benefit from the extra space on the NBA court, and it is hard to see the sophomore not develop into a very productive NBA player someday. But if the 2007 draft is on the table, Wright would be wise to put forth a bit more consistent effort from here until the Jayhawks’ NCAA Tournament comes to an end – whenever and however that may be.
Julian Wright had a very strong performance to lead Kansas into the Sweet Sixteen, showing the energy on defense and the boards that he’s known for, while also having one of his better scoring games of the season.
Wright played a good game on the offensive end, scoring in multiple ways but not forcing the issue, always making a pass for an assist or a kickout to the perimeter if his lane to the basket was closed off. Wright, still pretty raw on the offensive end, is not known for his scoring abilities, but he got by well in this game, hitting a few mid-range jumpers and taking it to the basket on some strong right-handed drives. One of Wright’s most impressive plays of the game was a drive down the right side of the lane in which he stopped on his pivot foot, quickly spun around, and buried a fade-away jumper from eight feet out. He also made two very athletic reverse lay-up attempts off the glass, one of which was in transition, but he wasn’t able to convert either. Wright still needs to work on his perimeter shooting and dribbling abilities, but everything was clicking for him in this game.
Wright also played a good game on the boards at both ends of the court, showing off his tenacity and athletic abilities in doing so. He frequently soars over the opposition with his fully extended arms to pull down rebounds high in the air, and he did so many times in this game, while also doing a good job boxing out on the defensive end. On the offensive end he had one very impressive put-back off the glass where he seemingly came out of nowhere to out-leap the defense to get his hands on the ball.
Defensively, Wright was all over the place, showing off his versatile defensive abilities, his non-stop energy, and how he can put his physical tools to work. On one of the first plays of the game, Kentucky made an outlet pass from one side of the court to the other, and Wright tracked it down like a free safety, jumping up to pull it down in mid-air, then dribbling the length of the court to score the lay-up himself. Wright wasn’t posted up much in the game, but when he was he did a good job holding his ground and getting his arms up, forcing the opposition into tough shot attempts. He was a constant force on the weakside as well, doubling in the post to force turnovers and stepping up on the perimeter to bother opposing guards.
Wright has a good chance of going in the early lottery should he declare for the draft this year, based mostly on his upside and excellent work ethic, but he may return to school to earn his degree, which he currently says he plans on finishing by the conclusion of his Junior year. This may be a risky move for Wright in terms of where he gets drafted, as his stock could decline if he doesn’t meet expectations next season, but going back to college for another year could also put him in an easier environment to continue developing his offensive game, helping him become a better player in the long run. Still, with his rebounding, defense and all-around feel for the game, Wright already has a lot to contribute to an NBA team, so it’s not as if he’d be glued to the bench if he came out this year.
On an individual level, this hasn't quite been the breakout season many (including us) had predicted from Julian Wright so far. On a per minute basis, his scoring, assists and turnovers have remained the same, his field goal percentage is down, but his rebounding is notably better. According to the game logs and advanced stats we have at our disposal, Wright is getting over 50% more possessions per game to work with (ranked 2nd on his team), but has not shown substantial improvement in any one particular area while carrying the added load.
On face value, considering his production, his last game this weekend, scoring 33 points against Missouri, could be looked at as a huge step in the right direction. It certainly was as far as Bill Self's Jayhawks are concerned, but from a scouting perspective, it was hard to get too excited about when breaking down the tape. Wright almost singlehandedly destroyed a lumbering, undersized Missouri frontcourt that had no business being on the same court as him as far as the talent disparity is concerned, and did the overwhelming majority of his damage in this game within a few feet of the basket.
8 of the 12 rebounds that Wright pulled down came on the offensive end, many of them well out of his area. His outstanding hands, instincts, toughness and the quickness in which he gets off the floor were on full display, often going straight up immediately after catching an offensive rebound and finishing strong through contact at the hoop. 14 of his points, plus a few more from free throw attempts, came in this fashion.
Wright also did an outstanding job moving off the ball and cutting to the basket, being rewarded with at least 4 alleyoop lobs that he successfully converted. On other occasions he just caught a simple entry pass calmly and converted an easy layup, usually nearly uncontested. The highlight play of the game came in the first half when he took a pass in transition from Brandon Rush and leaped from about a foot outside the paint right over a Missouri defender for an incredible two-handed jam. If you watched Sportscenter that night, you almost certainly saw it. The lone times Wright scored on something other than a dunk or layup were with a short 8-foot jumper and a nice kiss off the glass from 14 feet coming off a screen. He missed his lone 3-point attempt and another mid-range jumper.
Besides his scoring and rebounding, though, Wright did a nice job with his unselfish passing, as well as keeping his man in front of him. His outstanding lateral quickness and length makes him a potential terror on this end when he fully applies himself, and it's not difficult to project him developing nicely into an extremely bothersome perimeter defender.
What we're slightly more concerned about though his been the relative lack of progress we're seeing as far as his perimeter offense goes. Wright is barely a threat to create offense for himself due to his lackluster ball-handling skills. The ball slows him down considerably and nullifies any chance he has of beating players off the dribble. His perimeter shooting really isn't alleviating any concerns, as even though he's strictly taking wide-open shots with his feet set from behind the arc, he's just 3-11 on the entire season. In terms of pulling up from mid-range, the picture doesn't get much rosier. We can project Wright out as an NBA small forward all we want, but so far-- offensively at least, he really hasn't backed it up.
To be fair, though, Wright is nowhere near a finished product at this point, and wasn't supposed to be anywhere close to there yet. He clearly has the type of intangibles you look for in order to put faith in him continuing to work on his game. Regardless, he's saying that he's on track to graduate on three years and therefore will definitely be staying another season at Kansas. We'd have all the respect in the world for him if he indeed decides to keep his word, but he has to know that he's playing with fire with a move like that. Right now he's being projected as a top-10 pick almost solely based on his upside, and without showing substantial improvement next season, NBA execs will cool on him quickly. That puts a huge burden on his shoulders in terms of the offseason work he'll have to put into every facet of his game. But if he thinks he's up for it, then by all means that's what he should do.
The star of Kansas’ exhilarating overtime victory over #1 ranked Florida was their do-it-all combo forward Julian Wright. Many have wondered whether this fairly raw role player is being a little bit overhyped as an NBA draft prospect considering his relative lack of scoring production, but Wright came through in a huge way to show everyone exactly what his upside looks like.
Kansas got off to a huge start in this game, and Wright was the catalyst behind it. He showed phenomenal body control in transition, used ball-fakes to get Florida’s bigs in the air, and scored with a variety of floaters, pull-up jumpers, spot-up shots off screens and more on his way to a 17 point half-time performance. Wright was his active self all game long, particularly on the offensive glass where he came away with four rebounds. He looked patient and very smart in both the half-court and full-court for Kansas, making a number of unbelievable passes that showed the Boris Diaw side of him. Defensively he held his position in the paint and had a couple of big steals and blocks to ignite Kansas’ break, which he was often on the end of thanks to his outstanding athleticism. Wright was much quieter in the 2nd half, but still made a couple of big plays for his team down the stretch, particularly a huge steal on Taurean Green with 40 seconds left in overtime before calling a heady timeout to save the possession for Kansas. If this is what Wright looks like when he’s still very obviously making the transition to being a full-time wing, then his future looks very promising indeed.
Topping our list might be one of the least productive players you’ll find in this series in terms of what he did last year. So while he didn’t quite have the type of freshman season that legends are made out of, watching extensive tape on him, studying his physical attributes and knowing what we know about the type of work ethic he has off the court, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that he has about as much NBA upside as any returning player in the NCAA.
Standing 6-8 or possibly 6-9 with a gigantic wingspan, a perfect frame and outstanding athletic ability, Wright is a prototype for the “matchup from hell” combo forward that has become so popular these days, a la Boris Diaw or Andrei Kirilenko. He has a fantastic first step, is quick off his feet, possesses superb body control, and has the type of instinctive basketball reflexes that just cannot be taught. Unlike many athletic marvels, he does not seem to be afraid of using his physical tools either, showing great toughness and the awareness and determination to put himself in the right spots to make a big play. To complete an already superb package, we’re talking about a very smart player who works for the team and looks fully committed to doing all the little things.
Offensively, Wright shows great sparks of potential, but really hasn’t developed a consistent way to put points on the board. Most of his points came from cuts to the basket, where he utilizes his athleticism and phenomenal hands to catch virtually everything that is thrown his way and usually finish strong. He moves off the ball intelligently and presents himself well around the basket for easy finishes.
He looks fairly comfortable operating on the perimeter as well, where he likes to bait the bigger power forward matchups he typically draws to defend his inconsistent jump-shot before utilizing an excellent first step to just blow by his man. His ball-handling skills could still use some polish, but he’s surprisingly adept at freelancing off the dribble and showed some fancy stuff in terms of creating his own shot from time to time last season. He usually creates in order to get to the basket and finish from close range thanks to his excellent body control, but he also shows signs of a mid-range pull-up game. He didn’t get too many chances to show off his ball-handling skills, but when he did, he usually looked pretty good when he was being aggressive and wasn’t trying to get too flashy with no-look passes and such. As a freshman, his passing skills were not quite as evident as they were in high school where he was considered a Scottie Pippen point forward type, but he did show some really nice sparks from time to time in this area, particularly towards the end of the season.
Wright has some finesse to his game, but he also doesn’t have a problem getting down and dirty when the situation calls for it. As a rebounder, he shows nice timing and lets his terrific hands and physical tools do the rest, particularly on the offensive glass. Defensively, he has the length, smarts and quickness to really bother his opponents, coming up with a fair share of blocks and steals in the process.
His jump-shot might be considered one of his biggest weaknesses at the moment, besides his overall lack of polish. He lacks serious range on his jumper even though his mechanics are not bad. Working on getting his shot off quicker and utilizing his athleticism better to elevate off the floor will certainly make him a more versatile offensive threat. Like some of the NBA players we compared him to earlier, Wright is somewhat of a “3 and a half” at the moment, not having the strength any of the post skills you’d expect from a power forward, but not being a consistent enough perimeter threat to be considered a true small forward either. The biggest question is whether he’ll actually be allowed to play that position this season at Kansas, as their top returning scorer Brandon Rush can’t really play any other position and they might need Wright’s help in the post now that CJ Giles has been dismissed. On top of that, Wright isn’t the most aggressive or naturally talented offensive player you’ll find, so it’s not a give in that he puts up the type of numbers you’d typically expect from a top 10 pick on such a stacked Kansas team.
From what Wright says, though, none of that matters in the short-term anyway. He stated on multiple occasions over the summer that he will be staying at least three years at Kansas in order to leave the school with his degree, meaning he wouldn’t be in the draft till 2008. It’s hard not to be a bit skeptical when a top prospect makes that kind of decision this early, but it wouldn’t be unheard of, a la the 2006 Florida Gators.
As DraftExpress predicted last spring, Julian Wright has become everybody's favorite NBA Draft prospect. He started the year slowly, but eventually adjusted to the college game and was putting in dominant stretches of play by mid-season. There is little that Wright can't do on the basketball court, whether it be his freakish athleticism and length, superb court vision, or vastly improved midrange jumper. Because he is still raw and plays on an extremely talented team, he isn't going to stand out on a nightly basis. But he is already a very good basketball player, and we have only seen the tip of the iceberg from Julian Wright.[Read Full Article]