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Brandan Wright developing his role with Celtics

Brandan Wright is averaging 10.8 minutes and 4.3 points in four games with the Celtics.Barry Chin/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

Brandan Wright has never had an issue with waiting. His patience was tested early in his career.

He was a one-and-done first-round draft pick with nothing but upside, and it took all of 77 games for him to see how fleeting potential can be.

Two years into his career, he had to sit out a season because of a shoulder injury, and he returned at less than 100 percent.

He went from being a 6-foot-9-inch pogo stick for the Warriors as a rookie in 2007 to a 23-year-old veteran trying to reestablish himself with the Nets in 2010.

His blessing was the NBA lockout of 2011, which gave him a chance to fully recover.


“I wasn’t a year removed from surgery yet,” Wright said. “So I was still trying to work the kinks out and I was still fighting general soreness and the weather, going to cold cities and stuff like that. So I knew it was big for me to continue to strengthen that, work on that. For me to get healthy, that time was priceless.”

Wright began making up for lost time, carving out a niche as the Mavericks’ springy secret weapon off the bench.

When he averaged 9.1 points and 4.2 rebounds last season, the league started to take notice. More than just understanding his role, Wright took the minutes he got in Dallas and maximized them.

“I think health is a big thing always,” Wright said. “When you’re not 100 percent, it can hold you back. But I think these last 3-4 years, I’ve been able to show what I’m about. That I’m a very, very productive player in this league and only more good things to come.”

So now that he’s in Boston and coach Brad Stevens is still figuring out just how to play the overflow of bodies in the Celtics locker room, Wright has no problem waiting until things sort themselves out.


“He said the first couple weeks, we’ve got to see where we’re at,” Wright said. “We’ve got new guys over here. We made the trade with three good guys. It’s a young team, everyone’s still trying to establish themselves. So it’s going to be kind of a toss-up how it’s going to go. But I look forward to the future once everything’s settled in.”

In four games since coming to the Celtics in the trade that sent Rajon Rondo to Dallas earlier this month, Wright is averaging 10.8 minutes, 4.3 points, and 2.0 rebounds.

Last Tuesday in Orlando, he played eight minutes down the stretch as the Celtics nearly came all the way back from a 27-point deficit. Last Friday, he played only two seconds in the fourth quarter of a close loss to the Nets.

But the minutes, Wright said, will work themselves out. His focus is fitting in as quickly as possible.

“You’ve just got to get comfortable,” Wright said. “It’s going to take a little time. Still trying to learn the guys, learn the scheme, and learn the coaches. It’s still new, but we’re still getting there, though.

“I think I’m a good enough player to do that. And I have confidence in myself, confidence in my abilities when I step out on the court to make things happen. So whether it’s 20 minutes or 35 minutes, you’ve got to take advantage of what you get. Just play to your strengths.”


Starters need time to jell

Marcus Smart’s transition to starting point guard has been rocky so far.

Smart has started three of five games since the Rondo trade, and the Celtics have lost all three of his starts.

Smart said he’s still in the process of getting on the same page with the other starters. Between coming off the bench and missing 10 games in November with a sprained ankle, Smart’s floor time with the first unit has been slim.

“It’s just different because they’re not used to playing with me and I’m not really used to playing with those guys,” Smart said. “They had Rondo for so long, playing with him and getting used to his style. Trying to get used to my style and how I’m used to playing — and vice versa with me to them — it’s a lot.

“So I think that’s one of the reasons why we kind of come out kind of sluggish in the first half. But that’s no excuse. That has to change and I have to do a better job.”

Stevens has started Smart, Avery Bradley, Jeff Green, Jared Sullinger, and Tyler Zeller in three of the last four games. As a unit, they are averaging 8.6 minutes and have been outscored by an average 3.5 points over four games, turning it over 4.5 times and shooting just 20 percent from 3-point range.

Sullinger’s status uncertain

When Sullinger left the visitors’ locker room at the Verizon Center on Saturday with his right ankle wrapped, he said it was “no big deal.” He twisted it when he landed on someone’s foot while fighting for a rebound. The Celtics were off Sunday and Sullinger didn’t practice Monday. Stevens said he didn’t expect the injury to be a long-term issue, but wasn’t sure what Sullinger’s status would be for the rest of the week . . . After being sidelined for more than two weeks with a separated right shoulder, James Young returned to the court Sunday with the Maine Red Claws. Young scored 15 points in 32 minutes in his first game since Dec. 10. “I was kind of winded, but I also needed it just to knock some rust off,” said Young, who showed no lingering effects of the injury. “It’s about 100 percent,” he said of his shoulder. “I haven’t had any problems with it.”


Julian Benbow can be reached at jbenbow@globe.com.