Delon Wright became the first University of Utah player since Andrew Bogut was the No. 1 overall pick in 2005 to be taken in the NBA draft. Wright went 20th overall to the Toronto Raptors.
“I had no feeling they would draft me but when I went on my visit to workout I felt like they really had interest in me and that it could be a place for me,” Wright said in a conference call with the media.
Wright was joined by 200 or so well-wishers at the viewing party in his hometown of Los Angeles. He’s scheduled to fly to Toronto on Friday.
Raptors coach Dwane Casey told reporters that Wright was a unanimous choice of those in the war room when it was the team’s turn to pick. Casey praised Wright’s ability to guard multiple positions and run the pick-and-roll. He also noted his character and team-oriented approach to the game.
“Chemistry is an important thing that you also look for and he fits into that mold also,” Casey said.
Prior to the draft, Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak expressed confidence that the team that drafted Wright would be pleased with the selection.
“In my opinion somebody’s going to be really happy when they pick him,” Krystkowiak said. “My suspicion is he’s going to show up with somebody and coaches are going to start shaking their heads and say ‘He’s better than we thought.’”
After leading the Utes to the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 as a senior, Wright won the Bob Cousy Award as the nation’s top point guard. The Sporting News All-American was a two-time first-team All-Pac-12 honoree and made the league’s all-defensive squad twice.
“I think he’s a real cerebral player. He’s not going to be like a lot of kids in that league. I think he’s steps ahead,” Krystkowiak said. “I think throughout his time in our program, we exposed him to a lot of different concepts — defensive concepts and ideas — and worked with him to where he’s not going to have too much catching up to do. He’s going to need to get acclimated wherever he is, but it’s not going to be completely new.”
The Raptors opened up a spot for Wright earlier in the evening when they traded backup point guard Greivis Vasquez to the Milwaukee Bucks. Vasquez averaged 9.5 points and 3.7 assists last season. The Bucks gave up a lottery-protected first-round pick in 2017 and the No. 46 overall pick in 2015 to acquire him.
Kyle Lowry is Toronto’s starting point guard. The 29-year-old started in last season’s NBA All-Star Game and led the Raptors to the Atlantic Division title, averaging 17.8 points, 6.8 assists and 4.7 rebounds.
Lowry welcomed Toronto’s first-round draft pick via Twitter Thursday night. The message read: “Welcome lil d wright …”
Wright’s older brother, Dorell, plays for the Portland Trail Blazers. He was drafted 19th overall in 2004 by the Miami Heat.