I should start by saying I am not against Wroten in any way.
He seems like a good player who definitely has a chance to make it iI should n the NBA. Despite this, I think the Grizzlies could have come out of the 2012 draft with much more than a backup for Mike Conley.
First, is this filling a need for the Grizzlies? Having someone capable of spelling Mike Conley is definitely high on Grizzlies need list but is it the primary need? With 2 more young PG’s needing playing time to develop already on the roster what will a rookie point guard who has
Second, was he the best player on the board at that time? That is the big question after all. Chris Wallace himself has said numerous times that you draft for talent and use trades and free agency to fill needs. Wroten is far from a lock to succeed in the NBA. He has a terrible outside shot, turns the ball over way too much and has been described as a team chemistry killer.
In my opinion there were three ways in which the Grizzlies could have improved their draft day results.
1. Draft Arnett Moultrie. Moultrie had slipped significantly in the draft despite his initial predictions to go somewhere in the top 20. Moultrie would have been a great pickup for the Grizzlies. He is an effective rebounder who can cut to the basket with ease. His size allows him to play multiple positions, and he is an excellent 3-point shooter (44% last season with Mississippi State). Moultrie stretches the floor and could get Gasol and Randolph more open looks in the paint. Also, if you plug in Moultrie at power forward, you can let go of Cunningham, Arthur, or Speights. The money the Grizzlies would have saved would have let them go after Ray Allen or another veteran shooter with more money in hand.
2. Package the pick, O.J. Mayo with a restricted contract, and a non-Zach Randolph PF for a veteran shooter with 2 or 3 years left on his contract. While the may be a little bit crazy, it would have given the Grizzlies the fire power they need while freeing up some room in the payroll. Use the money the Grizzlies save to snatch up a point guard that went undrafted, and then let Selby and Conley work together to improve their chemistry in the backcourt while slowly letting the new point guard assimilate himself with the Grizz.
3. Don’t draft Tony Wroten Jr. Yes, Wroten has shown that he has the potential to become a player of Rajon Rondo’s caliber. But right now he is very far from that. Although Rondo has produced some of the flashiest assists and passes the NBA has ever seen, he is also a terrific ball handler who uses the players around him to create open looks. Wroten seems to always be looking for the fancy pass, which makes him prone to turnovers. In the Grizzlies pre-draft workout, Wroten seemed focused on showing off, not working his hardest. In reality, his shot was horrible and when he wasn’t making terrific passes (not often), he was a mediocre college point guard. The pundits are calling Wroten a dark horse for a reason.
So what did the Grizzlies get in the 2012 draft? Did they get a player ready to contribute to a playoff caliber team? No. Did they get a player that was the best talent left on the board? Probably not considering Perry Jones was still available as well as Moutrie.
It appears what the Grizzlies did was take a pick that needs to develop under a Head Coach not widely respected as a developer of young point guards. Hopefully it works out for the Grizzlies but this pick left many more questions than answers.