After one season with the Huskies, Tony Wroten will soon realize his dream of playing in the NBA. But, what kind of pro will Wroten become? I ask the question “What kind of pro will Tony Wroten become?”, because he’s not the player now he will be one day.
I first heard about Wroten when he was 14 and ranked the #1 in the country; I didn’t know they had such rankings, but there you have it. Wroten continued on the national radar throughout his high school years, known as a point guard with incredible vision, ball handling ability and size, which taken as a whole, gave him first rate court awareness. I remember listening to the radio prior to Wroten’s decision on which college he’d attend, and the host fielded a call who happened to be a relative of Tone’s. She said she really wanted him to attend UW, so he could drop dimes left and right for the home team. Well, UW it was, but ironically Wroten soon became more known for his slashing, driving ability to get to the rim, rebound and finish.
Wroten has his detractors, most of whom, I’ve not agreed with. Those few that I have seen their point, I’ve understood in the context of a freshman season. So too, with Wroten and the NBA commentators and pundits. I recently read a criticism from an NBA writer who argued that Tone is overrated, lacks a jump shot, turns the ball over too much, etc. This would be a huge blight on his ability to make an impact at the next level, if that’s the player Wroten forever will be.
Romar, who has come to the defense of Wroten time and time again in the face of his detractors, has been quick to point out that many (most?) early entry players are not fully developed; they’re young and still a work in progress. However, the teams and smart GM’s are able to project a player based on the talent and heart they show, develop them and reap the future fruit. Someone, some team, will see this in Wroten and pick him – likely in the first round – on June 28th.
I believe Wroten will be a fine NBA player, but what does he need to improve upon to realize his potential?
First, bring his athleticism to bear in a team concept. Yes, even the NBA runs sets and Wroten will want to make the maximum impact by playing team ball, forcing his will upon defenders, but in a way that benefits his teammates.
Second, commitment on the defensive end. Wroten can be a solid defender at the NBA level. His length and disruptive approach will generate easy buckets on the other end, but defense largely is a choice and he won’t be able to take any plays off, especially guarding the league’s best point guards.
Third, add versatility to his offensive game, including using his off-hand and developing a jumper. This is perhaps the most common criticism leveled against Wroten’s game. Competing against NBA level defenders will prod Wroten to develop his right hand; he’ll have to go right from time to time, because they’ll simply clog the left side. Further, there are several point guards who come into the league with a sub-par perimeter game but improve over time.
Draft boards have Tone all over the map, probably going somewhere in the late first round, though of course Wroten could improve his stock at the combines. According to his Twitter feed, Wroten worked out with the Golden State Warriors Monday, and a few boards have him going to Indiana, which I find very intriguing given their length, hard-nose style and already good perimeter play. A point guard with Wroten’s passing ability and court vision could prove to be a real asset to a team and system like Indiana. We’ll see where Tone lands soon enough. His impact will be great, even if not realized initially.