Drafted 25th overall by the Memphis Grizzlies
University of Washington 2011-2012 Stats: 16 ppg, 5 rpg, 3.7 apg
NBA 2012 Summer League Stats: 13.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 4 apg
As the 25th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, I’ve been thinking about what type of impact Tony Wroten should give this team. To figure out what his ceiling and potential can be coming into the season, here is a list a few player drafted 25th overall from the last decade: Marshon Brooks, Dominique Jones, Rodgrique Beabouis, Nicolas Batum, Morris Almond, Shannon Brown, Johan Petro, Tony Allen, Carlos Delfino and Frank Williams. There aren’t any stars on this list, but when you think of quality role players that’s what this list is.
Off the bat, Wroten is going to be fighting for playing time with Josh Selby and Jerryd Bayless at the wing position. His play will determine whether he will be backing up Mike Conley or Tony Allen, but with his height and physique he’ll be much better off playing the two-guard. His skills fit the offense perfectly and if anyone will be successful at replacing former player O.J. Mayo, it will be Wroten. At 6’6, he can defend shooting guards and, depending on the game situation, he may be fit to defend a few small forwards.
DraftExpress noted that Wroten skillset matched up best to Tyreke Evans. A few college coaches compared his game to one Rajon Rondo. The Memphis Grizzlies don’t need a “Rondo” on their team; they have Mike Conley for that, but a Evans-esque player off-the-bench would fit finely.
Coming out of college his biggest struggles were a) his turnovers and b) his shooting. During his time at the University of Washington Wroten averaged five turnovers a game. If he carries that over into the NBA then his time on the court will be short-lived. We all know of Lionel Hollin’s short leash with young players and turning the ball over is the quickest way to be a victim.
His shooting is also a problem, but those can be worked around if he brings energy to other aspects of the game (see Allen). In college, he shot an abysmal 16 percent from the three line. In the Summer League, he shot 20 percent from behind the arc which means improvement is there, but he needs to add more. Playing with Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph means this has to improve.
While O.J. Mayo was more of a spot-up shooter, there were times were he was excellent at driving to the basket and playing off-ball really well. This is where Wroten needs to fill in. At 6’6, 203lbs, he is big enough to create and take contact which will lead to free throws. Though he was a poor free throw shooter in college (58.3 percent), things can change in the NBA.
When camp begins, expect Wroten to come in as the third shooting guard on the depth chart behind Allen and Selby. With uncertainties on Selby’s game due to him being in Hollin’s “dog house”, the back up two-guard position could be all Wroten’s if he has a good camp and preseason. He can drive and get to the line to free up the shooters. He can create for other players, which is a huge need coming into the season. He may be the future replacement for Tony Allen, but for now 10-15 minutes of quality offense and intense defense is all the team needs now.