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The Shooting Regression of Tony Wroten


Philadelphia 76ers guard Tony Wroten has officially arrived. The third-year guard from Washington has been extremely impressive this season, especially during the absence of Michael Carter-Williams. To this point, Wroten is averaging 17.9 points, 6.3 assists and 3.3 rebounds per contest. The 6’6″ guard is also averaging almost two steals a game. He’s been special to say the least and has been one of the bright spots in a season that is, well, ugly.

A lot of what made him special in the first few weeks of the season was his ability to knock down shots from three-point range. Coming into his third year, Wroten had never shot over 25 percent from deep in a season — he shot 21.3 percent last year. So, when Wroten started the season shooting a respectable percentage from distance, most wondered if this would regress. Spoiler alert: it has.

As of right now, Wroten is shooting 26.6 percent from three, which is technically a career-high, ignoring the small sample size. However, during the first week or so of the season, Wroten was shooting closer to 40 percent. For instance, during the 76ers first five games of the season, the third-year pro was stroking it at a 42 (!) percent clip from deep. This number was inflated from two hot shooting performances the two past games where Wroten hit 6-of-9 from three in two games.

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Seven games into the season, his shooting from deep decreased to 36 percent, which was still extremely respectable and a number that would please any 76ers fan. His shooting dropped after a 1-of-4 and 3-of-10 performance back-to-back. I don’t care what he’s shooting from distance, no one is comfortable with Tony Wroten firing up that many shots from three-point land.

Fast forward to the 11th game where Wroten’s percentages dipped to 32 percent. I stop here, because Wroten hasn’t hit a shot from three in the past four games, going 0-for-11, and 1-for-17 in the past six games. After hoping and praying that Wroten would turn into — at the very least — an average shooter from deep, it appears those dreams have faded.

It’s weird, in a sense, because Tony Wroten embodies a style of basketball that Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey made popular and something that Philadelphia 76ers GM Sam Hinkie seemed to bring over to Philadelphia. This style is termed “Moreyball” and involves a large percentage of the teams shots to come from either three-point land or at the rim. The mid-range jumper is essentially worthless in this style of offense.

This offense describes Tony Wroten in a nut shell. Hat tip to Max Rappaport of for this gem: Tony Wroten has 209 shot attempts this season, 190 have been at the rim or from three-point range. Those locations account for 91 percent of his attempts and all of his non free-throw points. This data was before the game against Brooklyn, but it still holds true.

Dreams of Wroten turning into a three-point shooter are dead, very dead. He’s gone from somewhat of a respectable shooter in the first week or so to someone that can be left completely unguarded from deep. It’s a shame, because Wroten being an average shooter (35 percent or so) from three would help his game immensely, as he employs the type of offense that is full of three’s and attempts at the rim. He seems to be regressing into the same player he was last year. A type that can seemingly score at will, but at the cost of efficiency and a lack of spacing on offense.