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Golden State Warriors' Matt Barnes, #22, reaches for a loose ball against Miami Heat's Dorell Wright, #1, in the second quarter of their game on Friday, December 7, 2007, at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Contra Costa Times)
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Dorell Wright calls it his summer game.

Usually when the season ends, the 6-foot-9, 210-pound swingman heads back to his hometown of Los Angeles and spends the summer playing pickup ball. At such premium hot spots as UCLA and Hanger Athletic Xchange, he's known for being a highly skilled playmaker.

"My friends and family, they always ask me, 'Why don't you play like that in the NBA?' " Wright said. "I just had to play in that (Miami Heat) system so I had to do whatever I had to do to get on the floor. I just knew how to put aside my game and fit into my role."

Golden State wants Wright, 24, to bring his summer game to Oakland. The Warriors need him to be the all-in-one small forward they once had in Stephen Jackson. They need him to create offense for others, knock down open shots, penetrate, post-up smaller defenders, lead the break at times and, yes, guard the opponent's best wing player. That's why they signed him to a three-year, $11.5 million deal in July.

Though training camp is just a few days old, Wright's teammates already say he's that piece.

"He's a good defender, a long athletic defender," swingman Reggie Williams said. "He can handle the ball great. He's great running pick-and-roll action, and he can also post up a little bit."


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Wright is all too happy to oblige the Warriors. Since being drafted No. 19 overall by the Heat in 2004 out of South Kent Prep (Conn.), Wright has been eager to unleash his full game. He played six seasons in Miami. Really he played four seasons, as during his rookie season he saw action in just four games, and in 2008-09, he played in only six games largely because he was rehabilitating his left knee.

When he was on the court in Miami, Wright was a defensive specialist who on offense ate the crumbs from Dwyane Wade's table. Last season, he showed off his spot-up 3-pointer, knocking down 61 at a rate of 38.9 percent.

The Heat's acquisition of LeBron James left Wright on the free agent market. Once the Warriors signed Wright, new coach Keith Smart said the staff started looking at his film in depth to see what they had. They saw glimpses of their old do-it-all small forward.

Since trading Jackson to Charlotte in November, the Warriors have been desperate for the prototype small forward. Their system works best when that position is filled by someone with size, high offensive skill and above-average defense.

Guard Monta Ellis -- at 6-3, 180 pounds -- was just too small. Swingmen Corey Maggette and Kelenna Azubuike weren't good enough at setting up others. Guard Anthony Morrow wasn't good enough at creating offense, and Williams doesn't have the ideal size.

"Man, he can make plays," Smart said of Wright. "He can move the basketball and do things like a playmaker. We had a guy like that a couple years ago, a 6-8 guy. We'll see how it goes in camp, see if he can handle it. I think he'll be OK."

Notes: As a matter of formality, the Warriors exercised their third-year option on point guard Stephen Curry, locking him up for the 2011-12 season. Per the collective bargaining agreement, the first two years of a first-round draft choice's deal are guaranteed, while the second two are team options. Curry will make $2.9 million this season and $3.1 million in 2011-12. "... The Warriors' open-to-the-public practice is Oct. 6 at 5:30 p.m. at Oracle Arena. Admission and parking is free. For information, go to www.warriors.com. "... Brandan Wright strained his right calf during Wednesday's morning practice, and his status for the evening practice was uncertain. "... Louis Amundson is dealing with lower back stiffness. He's day-to-day. "... Andris Biedrins was excused from practice Wednesday for personal reasons.