Through two years in the NBA, the career arc of Tony Wroten has been interesting to watch unfold. After being drafted 25th in 2012 by the Memphis Grizzlies, Wroten spent much of his first NBA season buried on the Grizzlies’ depth chart behind Mike Conley, Jerryd Bayless, Tony Allen, and Keyon Dooling. He made several trips to the D-League over this span, and didn’t look great in the chances he did get at the NBA level. Memphis, despite their years-long struggle for guard depth, didn’t see him as a part of their future, and traded him to Philadelphia for a protected second-round draft pick. The Grizzlies will almost never see the top-55 protected selection, so Memphis sent Wroten to Philadelphia for free essentially.
In his first year with Philadelphia, the 6’6″ guard blew up as a backup shooting guard for the Sixers. Wroten was one of the few consistent scorers on the Sixers last season. After barely receiving any playing time in Memphis, he averaged 24.5 minutes per game in 72 contests, and was often one of the first players off the bench for Philly.
He posted pretty solid overall scoring numbers for Philly — 13.0 points per game, 19.2 per 36 minutes — but his shooting totals were ghastly. Wroten shot just 42.7 percent from the field and 21.3 percent from three last year. The University of Washington product wasn’t great at the line either, hitting 64.1 percent of his free-throws.
Wroten’s scoring last season was simply baffling. Putting up those types of scoring numbers on that low of efficiency isn’t common. The list of players who scored that well on that low of efficiency isn’t a long one: Tony Wroten, Damian Lillard, Demar DeRozan, Paul George, Jamal Crawford, Brandon Knight, and Ricky Ledo. Wroten had the lowest true shooting percentage of the group at 49.3 percent, well below league average.
Wroten’s scoring came as a result of an obscenely high usage rate. Wroten used 27.7 percent of available possessions for the Sixers last season, a number that is usually reserved for high-volume number one scorers such as James Harden or Rudy Gay. Wroten also attempted 4.5 free throws per game, attacking the basket and getting plenty of chances at the line. That’s a good trait for Wroten; however, the fact remains that this high of a usage rate with low efficiency is a recipe for disaster. Something has to change: Either Wroten has to step back in usage, or improve his shooting numbers.