Tony Wroten Sent To NBA Developmental League


The 2011 Husky one and done that was drafted 25th in the 1st round of the 2012 NBA Draft by the Memphis Grizzlies has been assigned to play for the Reno Bighorns of the NBA D-League. This shouldn’t come as a big shock to anyone who has been keeping tabs on the player. He definitely found success in his one season with Washington, as he averaged 16 points, 5 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game, but it was also clear that even by the end of the year he had not developed a well rounded game.

Most of all, he is a very poor shooter. From beyond the three point arc, his jumper appeared to be borderline broken, and he shot 16% from that range on 1.6 attempts per game. Those struggles also carried over to the charity stripe, where he shot only 58%. For a post, that wouldn’t have been a huge problem, but he is a slashing guard. Getting fouled and shooting two is one of his greatest strengths, and if he had shot more like 75%, his scoring average would have seriously been a few points higher. Wroten also never seemed to be a great defender either. He was certainly capable based on his athleticism and size, but he was rarely all that focused or engaged on that side of the floor. One of his greatest talents is the ability to throw beautifully accurate passes, but in college he turned over the ball so often, 3.8 times a game, that the benefit was marginal.

Oct 26, 2012; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Tony Wroten (1) passes during the game against the Toronto Raptors at FedEx Forum. Toronto defeated Memphis 120-106. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIRE

So, from an NBA point of view, Wroten was drafted so high because he is a 6’6″ 208 pound guard with the size to play the two but some of the skills of a one. He is an incredibly dynamic slasher that can get to the rim with his size and his speed and then finish with a wonderfully soft touch around the basket. But, beyond his physical tools and his ability to get to the rim, everything else is a work and progress, and the D-league is a terrific place for a young player who perhaps left for the NBA a year or so too soon to, you know, develop. Being sent down isn’t the death sentence it used to be, and for a Memphis team that is too good to give minutes to such an unpolished guard, the move make a lot of sense and doesn’t necessarily mean that they have given up on Wroten, or that they don’t plan on him being an important part of the team down the road.

Now it is on Wroten to take the demotion and use it as motivation to work and improve so that next year, or the year after, he can return to the NBA a guy that can hit his free throws and perhaps a mid range jumper, and a guy that plays smart and focused defense. We will see if he has that in him.