Reports: Grizzlies trade Tony Wroten to Sixers for draft pick
“Just want to say thank you to all the Memphis Grizzlies fans, coaches,” Wroten tweeted Thursday. “I love the city of Memphis. Will always have love for you guys.”
Wroten, 20, was the No. 25 pick in the 2012 draft after spending one year at Washington. He averaged 2.6 points and 1.2 assists in 35 games for Memphis last season. While on assignment to the D-League’s Reno Bighorns, Wroten averaged 15.7 points, 3.2 assists and 1.5 steals in 10 games. He also played for the Grizzlies at the 2013 Las Vegas Summer League, where he averaged 12.2 points and 3.5 assists in six games.
Wroten is a quick, explosive lefty combo guard who enjoys making spectacular passes (and needlessly turning routine passes into spectacular passes). He entered the NBA facing serious questions about his shooting range and ability to limit turnovers, and he’s yet to answer either question. He shot just 38.4 percent overall during the regular season and 25.3 percent during the summer league. His numbers from three-point range are even more unsightly.
Although he’s moving from one of the West’s best teams to a Philadelphia club that could be the league’s worst, Wroten should receive his transfer with open arms. The Grizzlies, who have Mike Conley firmly entrenched as the starting point guard, brought back guards Tony Allen and Jerryd Bayless, while also signing Mike Miller and Nick Calathes and drafting Jamaal Franklin in the second round. That’s a certified backcourt glut, and Wroten’s particular shortcomings — no jumper, ball control issues — were likely to keep him deep on the Memphis depth chart. His departure, which sees his $1.2 million salary go without money returning, gives the Grizzlies a little bit more cushion between their $69.9 million payroll and the $71.7 million luxury-tax line.
In Philadelphia, Wroten should get rotation minutes in a barren backcourt that features 2013 lottery pick Michael Carter-Williams, Jason Richardson and Evan Turner. The Sixers, who are well below the salary-cap line and can absorb his contract into their open space, will gladly part with a future second-round pick to see if they can mold Wroten into a more finished product, as his raw talents made him an All-Pac-12 first-team selection as a freshman.