Tony Wroten Bound To Be Key Factor For Sixers


Last year, Philadelphia 76ers point guard Tony Wroten was lost for the year after he suffered a partially torn ACL.

The Sixers missed Wroten, as the team opted for a combination of Ish Smith and Isaiah Canaan in an effort to recover from the loss.

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Now, entering the 2015-16 season, the return of Wroten is imperative if the 76ers want to be a competitive team this year.

I’ve been doing a series focusing on potential point guard options for the Sixers this year. I highlighted Norris Cole and the aforementioned Smith.

Recently, the Sixers acquired former Laker Kendall Marshall (according to Andrew Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports), and he’ll likely play a huge role this year. However, the return of Wroten is still incredibly significant, and the Sixers need him to return to full health.

Wroten had a productive season before being hurt, although it wasn’t one that was completely sans negatives.

Despite only playing for a portion of the season, Wroten averaged 3.8 turnovers per game. With that number, Wroten tied for the fifth-most turnovers per game in the league, according to Pro Basketball Reference.

Although he had a penchant for turning the ball over, Wroten was a productive piece of the Sixers offense, averaging 16.9 points per game, to go along with 5.9 assists and 2.9 rebounds.

He has an electric, dynamic play style that’s always apparent when he’s on the floor. Personally, I think Wroten embodies the attitude of the 76ers organization: he’s aggressive, relentless and hungry.

Jan 9, 2015; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Tony Wroten (8) rises to the net during the second quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

You’d be hard-pressed to find a game from last year that didn’t feature Wroten attacking the basket en route to points. He’s great at finishing after contact, and it’s hard for defenses to keep him from reaching the net.

Getting to the rim is his niche, but it’s also something head coach Brett Brown realizes can be a curse.

“His gift, and it is such a gift, of getting to the rim, has to be done responsibly,” Brown said, according to John Gonzalez of CSN Philly.

While Wroten can get to the basket easily, when he gets fouled he has trouble making his foul shots. Last year, Wroten only converted 66.7 percent of his free tries.

Wroten also is a good passer, setting his teammates up for big plays and flashy alley-oops.

Defensively, Wroten is nothing special, however, he gives 100 percent on every play, and that’s something that really can’t be taught. He’s good at intercepting hastily dished passes, and he’s a very good player in transition.

Wroten has handles, too, and that makes him a great player in isolation. Seriously, there’s not much as grand as seeing Wroten put a defender on skates. He’s about as quick as a cat and as fast as a feline. Wroten is a fun player to watch, and it seems like he energizes his teammates whenever he’s in the game.

Gonzalez also mentioned Wroten’s value to the team.

"“He just turned 22. He’s on a cheap contract. He’s 6-6, incredibly athletic, and he can get to the rim at will. If he regularly applied himself on defense, he could use his length to be an absolute terror,” Gonazalez said."

Another asset Wroten has that can’t be taught is his competitive nature. He could seriously be considered as the heart of the Sixers, and he’s fed up with the Sixers being bottom-feeders in the NBA.

Although I’m positive every player on the Sixers is tired of being synonymous with mediocrity, seeing a player like Wroten publicly refer to his disdain is a positive. Some people think the pro-basketball culture in Philadelphia is changing, and Wroten certainly falls into that category.

This year, Wroten will be competing for playing time with the aforementioned Marshall, who is also coming off of a season-ending ACL injury.

Despite that, Wroten is still going to be a big, big part of this Sixers team. Wroten won’t get a ton of mainstream media attention (but then again, nobody in the Sixers backcourt will, for the most part), but he could very well be the team’s biggest x-factor.

Whether he’s the starter or coming off the bench, Wroten is going to produce for the Sixers this year.

Let’s count down the days until opening night together on Twitter: @DisdierSports

Next: 2015-16 Sixers Roster Preview: The Front Court

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