Share 1-on-1: Toronto's Julian Wright
By: Jim Eichenhofer,
January 17, 2011

Prior to Monday afternoons New Orleans home game against the Toronto Raptors, caught up with former Hornets forward Julian Wright. The 6-foot-8, fourth-year pro is in his first season with the Raptors, having been traded by New Orleans to Toronto on Aug. 11, in exchange for Marco Belinelli.

Wright was the 13th overall pick of the 2007 NBA Draft, the Hornets first draft choice during the summer that they returned full-time to the city of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Many Hornets fans are wondering what your experience has been like on a new team this season, after three years in New Orleans. How has this season gone for you with the Raptors on the court?
Wright: The adjustment is like anything it takes time. Im trying to get acclimated to a new offense, new schemes and different teammates, of course. But its been what I expected. The organization has been very welcoming.

My playing time has been up and down, being the new kid on the block. I feel like were trying to mesh everyone together. They had a young core of players already. Im just trying to do all I can to gain minutes and mesh with teammates. Its not about stats it never has been. Hopefully I can start to play a bigger role in our games. What did you enjoy most about playing here in New Orleans?
Wright: The crowd and how they interacted with us as players. I liked the tradition of standing until the home team scores. You could feel the unity between the fans and players, from the tip to the end of games. That was one of the lasting experiences for me, especially being in the playoffs (in 2008) and having the crowd behind us, and doing whatever we could to help the city.

People are so down-to-earth here and so laidback thats why its the Big Easy. It allows you to be calm and eliminates some of the stress, being out in the city and enjoying life. What was the reason for your change to number 14? Your Twitter name is @Take1_4TheTeam? Whats the story behind that?
Wright: Thats been my whole outlook as a player, to take one for the team and be a team player, and not worry about individual stats. A lot of people may get caught up in stats, but I dont. I think Im a winner and have a winning mentality. A lot of the reason for the new number is for personal reasons and has something to do with my family. Now that youre no longer a teammate of Chris Paul, what can you tell us about him that people may not know?
Wright: What you see is what you get with him. He shows his true colors on the court, and hes a warrior. He doesnt like to lose, and that rubs off on the people around you. Its contagious. But at the same time, hes so down-to-earth and so easy to talk to, it almost throws you off. Youre like (surprised). Hes fiery on the court, but off the court hes a human being just like everyone else. Same question on former teammate of David West. It seems like for a guy whos a two-time All-Star, people really dont know much about him. Is that part of his master plan?
Wright: [laughs] Hes definitely quiet and keeps to himself, but hes actually a jokester a little bit. You have to be quick to catch his jokes. He says things that are very sly, very subtle. Another thing people may not realize is that hes really into his music. He can play the drums a little bit. I guess thats how he gets into his rhythm, so to speak. As one of the better dunkers in the NBA and one of the best ones weve had on the Hornets in recent years, whats your analysis of the upcoming contest next month? It features Blake Griffin, Serge Ibaka, Brandon Jennings and JaVale McGee.
Wright: It seems like its become a big mans dunk contest. I think people have come to understand and appreciate the tall guys who can jump, because you can see the elevation and how high they are above the rim. Weve seen people like Blake Griffin be great in-game dunkers, but not necessarily great in a dunk contest. Someone like Brandon Jennings will also be interesting to watch. But I dont know how its going to turn out. Well have to wait and see.

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