Published on May 29th, 2012 | by Bryant West, Columnist0
2012 NBA Draft Prospect Stock Watch: Tony Wroten Jr.
Name: Tony Wroten Jr.
Hometown: Renton, WA
Physicals: 6′ 5″, 185 lbs, 19 years old
NBA Position: Point Guard
Current Stats: 16.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 3.7 APG, 3.8 TPG, 1.9 SPG, 44.3% FG, 58.3% FT, 16.1% 3P
In a draft full of Andre Drummond, Perry Jones III and Austin Rivers, you’d think that would be enough head cases for one year. Nonsense! Turn your eyes to Tony Wroten Jr., the enigmatic point guard from Washington, who some experts hail as “the point guard version of DeMarcus Cousins!”
DeMarcus Cousins should be insulted. Not because people are comparing him and Wroten in terms of personality—yes. Cousins had/still has a brass, confrontational if fiery personality. No denying that. But Cousins should be insulted that he’s being mentioned with Wroten as a basketball player.
Look at Wroten’s stat line. Look at it again. Look at those numbers and explain to me how Wroten is a first round selection. We can wait.
44.3 percent shooting isn’t bad. 58.3 percent free throw is. And 16.1 percent three point shooting? When he shot 1.6 a contest and made just .3 of them? And not to mention his assist to turnover ratio is 3.7/3.8?
Hit the jump for the rest of Bryant’s scouting report…
At least Cousins was, for all the talk of his attitude, successful in college. He helped lead the Wildcats to an Elite Eight bid in 2010. Wroten led a vastly disappointing Washington team to… an NIT spot.
So why is Wroten a first round selection? Why is he considered a potential “late first steal” who some scouts/experts beg as a steal waiting to blossom? Because he looks like an NBA point guard.
He’s above-average explosive, quick, deceptively crafty. When he isn’t turning the ball over, he’s got good/great passing skills. He’s got good court vision and can find his teammates… again, when he isn’t turning it over. And when he drives to the basket, he’s excellent at finishing around the basket… when he’s not clanking errant threes.
Imagine Brandon Jennings, but a bit less explosive, a worse shot and even more turnover prone. Or take Tyreke Evans, make him an even worse shooter, chop off about 50 lbs, and take away the elite overpowering ability that Evans possesses… and give him attitude issues. Either way, you get a fair idea of how Wroten is at this point.
A good quick summary from ESPN’s Chad Ford—“Wroten is one of the draft’s biggest enigmas. On pure talent, he’s a Top 5 pick, a big point guard with excellent athleticism and a power game that gets him to the basket at will…. However, Wroten really struggles as a shooter, plays out of control, is turnover prone and doesn’t seem to make his teammates better. While some scouts believe he’s the second coming of Gary Payton, others think the risk will outweigh the reward.”
Give Wroten credit for this though—a fiery personality has its benefits. Just ask DeMarcus Cousins—for all of Cousins troubles with whining at the ref and picking up dumb fouls, he’s got a motivation that few in the league possess. Does Wroten have that untapped passion mixed in there? We’ll have to see. If he proves his believers right, that could be the tool that gets him there.
Draft Watch: A sexy fit for Wroten is Miami at #27, where he could pair with LeBron James and Dwayne Wade who would hopefully knock whatever personality issues he possesses right out. But any point guard who plays on the Heat needs to be able to shoot and play off the ball, neither of which Wroten can do quite yet.
Memphis at #25 makes some sense. They need a backup point guard, and Wroten would likely be the best point available (unless Marquis Teague is still in play).
Chicago at #29 could use a backup/insurance for Derrick Rose, but they need shooting help and Wroten doesn’t really bring that.
Honestly, one of the better fits for Wroten may be Orlando at #19, although that’s pretty early. He’d be surrounded by shooters which would free him up to drive more. Plus, when Orlando trades Dwight Howard away, they’ll need someone they can try and sell to fans. Wroten has the potential allure that may draw in the customers, especially if he explodes and dominates.
Conclusion: I don’t see a top five pick in Wroten, by any stretch of the imagination. He lacks any overpowering single ability that outweighs his weaknesses—he’s extremely turnover prone, possesses significantly below-average range and didn’t improve his teammates while playing the most important position on the court. Potential is there, but the risk outweighs the reward.