Chris Wright not stressing the pressure of summer league

Nuggets offer latest opportunity for 24-year-old point guard
by Aaron Lopez

At the Samsung NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, the eyeballs are everywhere.

Coaches. Scouts. General managers. Agents. Team presidents. Owners.

With so many people of influence in the bleachers, the pressure to perform can be stressful for the 200-plus players trying to stand out in the crowd.

Not for Chris Wright.

Three years removed from a solid college career at Georgetown, the 24-year-old point guard has adopted a fatalistic approach as he continues to pursue steady work in the NBA.

“I come to summer league with the plan of just being me,” Wright said. “I don’t try to impress anybody. I’ve been playing the game a long time. If (teams) don’t like you, they don’t like you. You can’t let that determine your mindset. You’ve got to be happy with how you play regardless of what anybody says. I just go out there and do what I do.”

Wright did a little bit of everything in his first summer league game for the Denver Nuggets on Saturday. He scored six points, handed out a team-high eight assists and added three steals against the Toronto Raptors.

His well-rounded performance was overshadowed by teammate Gary Harris’ 33-point performance – but Wright is accustomed to flying under the radar.

He went undrafted after averaging 12.5 points and 4.0 assists in his four years at Georgetown, and he opted to play in Turkey as the NBA dealt with a work stoppage in advance of the 2011-12 season.

Wright returned home the following year and went to training camp with the New Orleans, only to be cut just days before the 2012-13 opener. He joined the Iowa Energy of the NBA Developmental League and signed a 10-day contract with the Dallas Mavericks in March.

Those 10 days in Dallas serve as motivation for Wright, who also has made international stops in Puerto Rico and France.

“I was fortunate to play for one of the really good ballclubs in the NBA,” Wright said. “It was nice.”

At 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, Wright is built a lot like NBA veteran and former All-Star Jameer Nelson. Wright can use his strength against smaller guards, but he still has to prove he can shoot with consistency in an era of scoring point guards.

“There’s been a premium on scoring point guards,” he said. “Guys that set up people are not really being appreciated as much as in the past. As a point guard, you have to find that balance. If you get a shot, you have to knock it down. More importantly, you have to make the right play.”

Wright will spend the next week trying to make correct decisions in front of the scrutinizing eyes NBA coaches, scouts and executives. He’s not going to stress out about the results.

“If you’re a professional athlete and you’ve got to play basketball, it’s not that hard,” he said. “You have an easy job. You just have to play basketball every day. There’s stress that comes with it, like any other thing, but you’ve got to be thankful for what you’ve got."

“I’m still trying to reach my dream of being in the NBA, but if it doesn’t happen, it’s not the end of the world. I still get to play ball.”