Just when Sixers news had settled down following the official announcement of Brett Brown’s hiring, Sam Hinkie decided to insert the team back into the news cycle. Word came Thursday that the team had acquired 6’6″ guard Tony Wroten from the Memphis Grizzlies for a top-50 protected 2014 2nd round pick. In case you haven’t been paying attention, the Sixers don’t project to be very good this year, so it’s almost certain they picked Wroten up for nothing.
The Grizzlies selected Wroten with the 25th overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft out of the University of Washington. (No word yet on whether Spencer Hawes insisted the Sixers acquire another UW alum following the release of Justin Holiday.) During his lone year as a Husky, Wroten averaged 16.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 3.6 assists, on his way to PAC-12 freshman of the year and All-PAC-12 first team honors. However, much like Sixers draft pick Michael Carter-Williams, Wroten struggles greatly with his shot, having shot just 16.1% from three and 58.3% from the foul line at Washington.
Wroten continued to labor with his outside shooting during his rookie year at the professional level. He appeared in 35 games for the Grizzlies while splitting time between their roster and the D-league, shooting 30.8% 3PT and 58.9% FT combined. Wroten has the size and athleticism to succeed at this level, but to stick in an NBA rotation, he’ll need to develop a respectable outside shot to keep defenses honest and not be a liability on that end. The Sixers have taken a flyer that they’ll be able to fix that broken jumper and earn themselves a talented player for nothing.
Trade for Tony Wroten – As mentioned, the Sixers effectively gave up nothing to acquire Wroten and see if he can develop any sort of outside shot under their tutelage. Wroten is only on the books for $1.16M this season, with club options at $1.21M and $2.18M the following two seasons, so he represents an affordable asset both now and in the future. Wroten is still only 20 years old, was a first-round pick just one year ago, and has an athletic pedigree second to none. In addition to having a father who played NFL football for the Buccaneers and a mother who ran collegiate track, Wroten’s aunt Joyce Walker played basketball for the Harlem Globetrotters and he’s cousins with Nate Robinson (maybe he has irrational confidence running through his veins?). Wroten is basically the ideal candidate for the Sixers roster this season: a potential smorgasbord of talent who will help the Sixers brick their way to plenty of losses.