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Will Julian Wright Ever Live Up to His Potential Since Entering the NBA in 2007?

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Will Julian Wright Ever Live Up to His Potential Since Entering the NBA in 2007?
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Julian Wright is an Unrestricted Free-Agent.

Julian Wright was one of the top high school athletes in the state of Illinois coming out of Homewood-Flossmoor High School (Flossmoor, IL) in 2005. In 2005, he was named Illinois Mr. Basketball and a McDonald's All-American. He decided to play basketball for Bill Self at the University of Kansas for two years, before declaring for the NBA Draft.

Wright also played multiple positions during his high school basketball days, but played mostly at the power forward spot at Kansas. He could not only score the basketball, but showed all-around athleticism in passing, playing defense and doing other things on the court. The bottom line was that Wright possessed all of the necessary skills to become a solid NBA player.

After spending two years at Kansas, Wright entered the NBA Draft in 2007 and was selected in the first round by the New Orleans Hornets with the 13th pick. During his rookie year with the Hornets, Wright averaged 3.9 points and 2.1 rebounds while appearing in 57 games (including one start). In 2008-09 he saw his scoring and playing time increase while averaging 4.4 points and 2.8 rebounds in 54 games (including 19 starts). He averaged 3.7 points and 1.6 rebounds in 15 playoff games with the Hornets.

During the 2009-10 season, Wright saw his points and rebounding averages decrease slightly even though he appeared in a career-high 68 games that year. However, he never really fit in with the Hornets and saw his playing time fluctuate.

During the summer of 2010, Wright was traded to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Marco Belinelli, while the Hornets also traded Trevor Ariza and Darren Collison in a four-team five-player trade.

In Toronto Wright was used sparingly and mostly played off the bench. He averaged 3.6 points and 2.3 rebounds in 52 appearances (including six starts). Jay Triano, the coach of the Raptors, requested Wright to check into a ballgame where the team was losing to the Golden State Warriors, while Wright refused to enter the game.

Wright later apologized for his actions, but there was no question that his actions would only hurt his chances of finding long-term stability in the NBA.

So Julian Wright has gone from having the potential to be a solid NBA player drafted by the Hornets in the lottery to a player that may have a hard time finding a roster spot in 2011-12.

Given that he has still not showed off his athletic ability, the odds of him being given another opportunity appear to be higher, but he will have to prove that his attitude has changed and that he is willing to do anything and everything to find a role on a team.

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