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With the draft quickly approaching, we here at 3 Shades of Blue figured it was time to start taking a closer look at the players that the Grizzlies might be interested in at their current draft position in the #25 spot. Now, through multiple conversations over the past few years with Grizzlies’ VP Chris Wallace, we have a pretty good idea of what he’s looking for when it comes to evaluating talent — especially late in the first round. The key word there is “Talent”, because drafting for need is almost never a good idea in the NBA. This is definitely the case when dealing with a first-round pick that will receive a guaranteed contract.

So far, we have looked at Marquis Teague and Andrew Nicholson. Today, we will take a look at the University of Washington’s talented guard, Tony Wroten.

Wroten has a game and build that is similar to a player that many basketball fans in Memphis should be familiar with: Tyreke Evans. Standing 6’6″ and capable of playing both guard positions, it’s not a far stretch to compare him to the former freshman phenom who played for the Tigers. Known for his ability to attack the basket, Wroten should be able to make the transition to the NBA fairly easily.

On offense, Wroten wants to do one thing: utilize his left-hand heavy dribble drive to get past you and to the basket. That’s not to say that is the only thing he can do — but that’s what he prefers. And given his poor shooting percentages from both the mid-range and the perimeter, that’s not really surprising. Wroten’s athleticism and height have given him a decided advantage over the players he has faced the last few years in college and high school, so he has been able to exploit that and blow past opponents and get to the rim. At the next level, he’ll have to work on his shooting so that defenders don’t simply sag off of him and dare him to shoot, all the while knowing that he can’t. Also, he’ll face a lot better help defenders in the paint in the NBA as well.

Wroten has a good feel for the game, displaying impressive court vision and passing, as well as an underrated ability to handle the ball under pressure. These are skills that should allow him to see the court early and often for most teams as a backup combo guard in his rookie season. In addition, his defense is better than average, again bolstered by his height and athletic ability. He has great instincts and anticipation, which sometimes leads to him gambling too often, but frequently leads to deflections and steals, too. He should definitely be able to guard most of the 2-guards he’ll face off the bench.

Wroten will have to work on improving his shooting and his ability to utilize his right hand. Also, he will need to show a serious commitment to playing defense, which could be his key to garnering playing time right out of the gate. That will definitely be true if he is drafted by Memphis, since Lionel Hollins values defense above…well, pretty much everything else.

What kind of value would Wroten have to the Grizzlies? Well, if he’s anywhere near as good as his press clippings, then he could step right in as the primary guard off the bench behind both Mike Conley and Tony Allen, filling the role previously occupied by the presumably departing O.J. Mayo. He won’t be the scorer that Mayo is, but he has the tools to be a better all-around player. If he can stick to what he does well (ball-handling, attacking the basket, playing defense) and work on his deficiencies (shooting), he could be the backup guard the Grizzlies were needing last season to spell Conley. For a guy with Top 10 talent to fall this far would be a dream come true for Chris Wallace.

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10 Responses to 3SOB Draft Spotlight: Tony Wroten

  1. AndyNo Gravatar says:

    Who should we take if he and Teague are both available when we’re on the clock? My vote is Teague, but I’m interested in hearing other opinions. Probably a moot point given the Hawks’ infatuation with Wroten, though.

    Also, if Sullinger falls to us, will we atone for passing on Dejuan Blair 3 years ago and grab the Ohio State product?

  2. kasdNo Gravatar says:

    Is Will Barton a possibility for the Grizz? Not because he is a Tiger, but he is a athletic and versatile player, could play 3 positions (PG-SG-SF), is a legit 6’6″, can score, rebound, defend. Statistically speaking he is the best SG in the draft!!! Just look at the numbers! Watching him in college it seemed as though his weight was not a problem as he was not injury prone and attacked the rim relentlessly. + his almost 9 rpg proves he is unafraid to get in there and mix it up a little. I think he may be a steal for whoever gets him!!!

  3. presidentjoeNo Gravatar says:

    Wroten is intriguing. Athletic slasher type like tyreke. Why not just trade mayo for tyreke and then pick draymon green in the draft. Green reminds me a lot of a smaller younger version of Zbo.

  4. AndyNo Gravatar says:

    Barton will be a disappointment, even if he’s taken 60th. Kid is a moron with no work ethic

  5. GrizzliesDieHardNo Gravatar says:

    Andy, one thing Will Barton has going for him is a serious work ethic. He’s a 6’6 170lb guard who rebounds at a high level. I think Will’s game is more suited for the pros. He may be selfish, but not working hard is not something that belongs in the same sentence with Will Barton.

  6. LouisNo Gravatar says:

    The only thing that scares me about Barton is that he is so skinny. I’m 6’4″ 200 lbs and I still consider myself a thin guy. And the fact that he has such a narrow frame means he isn’t going to get much bigger. I just think he’ll get bullied by bigger stronger players. The NBA is a man’s game.

  7. J FalkNo Gravatar says:

    We need to go ahead and draft John Jenkins…he’s the best shooter in the class, and he’s a potential combo guard. I see a little Steph Curry in him. I wouldn’t hate the Barton pick, but, as a Tigers fan, I know the type of player he is and I don’t believe he will fit in with the Grizzlies at all. As for these point guards ya’ll are highlighting, I don’t believe we will take on of them either. Resigning Gilbert Arenas and continuing to develop Selby and Pargo will be a better option. In my opinion, the pick is John Jenkins at 25 if he’s there. Our coaching staff has recognized that we need shooters and combo guards more than anything, and he fits that description perfectly. I would say Fab Melo, but I believe the FO is ok with bringing Haddadi back. If Sullinger falls to us it’s a different story, but I don’t see that happening.

  8. KrimsonNo Gravatar says:

    Trade the pick and bring in Anthony Morrow. I dont like the Idea of drafting a guy that doesnt play/contribute. Im not sure what contribution you get from the 25th pick. It is always interesting to see lottery picks go bust and the second round all-astar.

  9. [...] and played fairly well on a Huskies team that wasn’t as good as expected last season. I did a draft spotlight piece on him a few days before the draft where I looked at his potential and possible [...]

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