Warriors update

Future is looking bright for small forward Wright

A month ago, Wednesday's game between the Warriors and Indiana Pacers was shaping up to be a showcase for two of the NBA's most improved players.

But while Indiana center Roy Hibbert has gone into a slump, Golden State small forward Dorell Wright has been headed in the other direction.

Wright entered Wednesday's game averaging 20.4 points and 5.2 rebounds over the previous 13 contests. After averaging just 6.3 points and 3.7 rebounds in 19.5 minutes during his first six NBA seasons with the Miami Heat, Wright has taken a quantum leap with his production. He averages 16.5 points and 5.7 rebounds and ranks seventh in the NBA in minutes played (38.7 minutes per game).

"We wouldn't be where we're playing right now (without Wright)," Warriors coach Keith Smart said before Wednesday's game. "There would have been a big void at the small forward position if he hadn't developed at the rate he's been developing. We would have been trying to figure out what other guy you can put out there and play."

Hibbert, who sat out Wednesday's game with an upper respiratory infection, looked as though he was headed for a breakout season when he averaged 16.1 points and 9.5 rebounds through the Pacers' first 16 games. But he's fallen off since, declining to 9.7 points and 6.9 rebounds per contest.

Smart said Wright has more than exceeded his expectations this season.


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"I didn't think it would come this fast," he said. "I thought once we got him here and put him in our system and showed him how we wanted to function as a small forward, he would make plays. We knew he could shoot the (3-pointer). We knew he could guard some people at different spots. But as far as playmaking ability, I didn't see that at all in Miami."

  • After getting double-digit minutes in 10 of 11 games, rookie Ekpe Udoh has been back buried on the bench recently. He played just nine combined minutes in the three games leading up to Wednesday, including last week's loss to the Los Angeles Lakers when he didn't get off the bench.

    Smart said Udoh's declining minutes are a product of a fully healthy roster and the strong play of starters David Lee and Andris Biedrins.

    "I'm trying to get him in there to play, but just to throw him out there is hard to manage," Smart said.

  • Former Warriors player Mike Dunleavy made his annual return to Oracle Arena and received the obligatory chorus of boos every time he touched the ball.

    -- Jonathan Okanes