The Toronto Raptors have assigned Delon Wright to Raptors 905 of the D-League, the team announced Monday.
This is exciting news. There isn’t much way around that. Sidelined since he suffered a dislocated shoulder and torn labrum at Summer League in July, Wright has been aiming for a mid-January return, and getting additional time with the D-League club always seemed a likely part of the plan. The Raptors haven’t used the 905 as a baseball-style rehabilitation outlet in the past, but Wright’s talked openly about his excitement about potentially shaking the rust off down there.
It is not immediate clear if Wright is being assigned with the intention of playing in the 905’s home game on Tuesday. As of the last formal update from the team, Wright is cleared for 1-on-1 contact drills and, based on the schedule he laid out, should be cleared for 3-on-3 by now. We’re working to confirm if he’s been given 5-on-5 clearance, which would open him up for potential game action. Otherwise, this could just be Wright getting additional work in, running through sets, and playing smaller-group games since the parent-club Raptors are off today following a back-to-back.
UPDATE: Raptors Republic has confirmed that this is just Wright continuing his 3-on-3 work. He is yet to be cleared for full practice.
Whatever the case, it’s obviously an encouraging sign that Wright has progressed to this point. He’s nearing a return and ramping up his activity, and if his pre-game and post-practice workouts are any indication (they might not be, but it’s all we’ve got), Wright is ready to hit the ground running. The biggest concern with his injury was that it would preclude him from continuing to put on weight, but it looks like he’s been able to maintain the size he put on before Las Vegas, at least. His release off the dribble looks smooth and much quicker, and his ball-handling was always a strength.
It’s difficult to judge without seeing him against live competition, and it’s likely that a sophomore missing time due to injury for the first time in his life (he never even missed a high school game hurt) would have an adjustment period. That’s part of the benefit of the 905 being close, and if Wright is ready for game action – the 905 play Jan. 10, 12, 18, and 20 over the next two weeks – there is ample opportunity to get up to speed.
As a refresher, the Raptors were high enough on Wright to make him the No. 20 pick in the 2015 draft. They wound up signing Cory Joseph, bumping Wright to third-string point guard duties, but he proved too advanced for the D-League once he made the adjustment to the speed of the game and the added complexity of the defensive end. Prior to his injury in the summer, he looked to have taken another step forward, and there was genuine cause for excitement about his progress. The injury cost him some important development time and maybe spot minutes in the NBA, but he should be able to pick up where he left off and continue developing. His path to playing time is muddled by the Raptors’ guard depth, but his length and ability to play some two mean he could find his way into time eventually. Things change quickly, and Wright’s almost surely capable of contributing at the NBA level right now, should he be called upon to do so.
Fred VanVleet and Bruno Caboclo have been assigned, as well.