Wright intends to impress

FRANK ZICARELLI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:40 AM ET

Antoine Wright projects the right attitude.

Whether he is the right guy at the right time for the Raptors will be determined at training camp and during the team's pre-season.

For now, Wright is saying all the right things and gives the Raptors a defensive presence on the wing, an area of concern in Toronto for the past few seasons.

"In this league, you have to separate yourself from your peers by whatever means,'' Wright said as the Raptors unveiled their new roster to the media before boarding their team charter to Ottawa, the site of training camp.

"For me that means playing defence and bringing an attitude each night."

When one looks at the roster, one sees plenty of jump-shooters, but few players known for playing defence.

Wright has a chance to make a name for himself and demand minutes on a deep bench by defending the perimeter and rebounding the basketball.

In New Jersey, Wright wasn't asked to score because the Nets featured Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson.

When Wright was sent to Dallas, the Mavs had Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry.

Defence has been Wright's calling card in the NBA, a reputation that should lead to minutes in Toronto and perhaps a more meaningful role.

Wright came to Toronto this past off-season in that memorable four-team deal that sent Shawn Marion to Dallas.

At last season's camp with Dallas, the odds were against Wright because the Mavs had a glut of wing players.

There are plenty of options in Toronto, but Wright intends to impress.

"I think last year in Dallas there were eight guards vying for positions,'' Wright said. "I started 53 games. I take a lot of pride in that. I like to think of myself as being very competitive and tough."

Wright can't shoot the basketball like Marco Belinelli, nor does he have the ability to handle the rock like Jarrett Jack. He can't create like Hedo Turkoglu and doesn't have the athleticism of DeMar DeRozan.

But none of the above defends like Wright, who takes offence to the notion that he can't be an offensive presence.

"I knew my role in New Jersey and in Dallas,'' Wright, who, at 6-foot-7, can play at either shooting guard or at small forward. "I certainly have the confidence to shoot the basketball and that mind-set has never changed."

Wright understands the importance of producing on the court.

"Coaches don't ignore facts," Wright, who averaged 7.3 points in Dallas, said. "Sometimes you can get pigeon-holed in this business, but I view myself as a basketball player who wants to produce."

He will get a chance in Toronto.

FRANK.ZICARELLI@SUNMEDIA.CA


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