There is no denying that the relationships between NBA players on and off-the-court has changed over the last 15 years. In this era of AAU basketball, powerhouse sports agents, mega sneaker contracts and social media, the majority of today’s NBA stars are well connected to each other and former players. Thus, they have no problem texting an on-the-court rival for advice or working out with a division foe in the off-season or reaching out to a retired hoops legend in order to learn a new move.
Magic, Larry and Mike would never have dreamed of doing such things.
Again, times have changed and so today we are launching a new series here at Philadunkia.com that works off the above premise regarding current NBA players and applies it to the members of the 76ers roster. Which current and/or former players should key members of the Sixers pursuit gym time with in order to develop and improve their game outside of Brett Brown’s watch?
First up, is arguably the most polarizing youngster on Brett Brown’s team — Tony Wroten.
Below are four current or former NBA Players I would like to see Tony Wroten seek out and work with this off-season:
James Harden: “The Beard” is one of the best combo-guards in the Association, so there is great deal about Dr. Naismith’s game that Wroten could absorb from a week under Harden’s tutelage. At the top of my “please teach Wroten” list for Harden would be playing offense — big guard style. Harden is 6-5 and if you have watched the Rockets for a game or two, you know that he does a stellar job of using his height advantage at the offensive end.
Wroten is also 6-5, but has yet to figure out a consistent way to use that size against smaller defenders. TWroe has a deep bag of dribble-drive tricks that create scoring ops for him, but he works hard for each bucket. Too hard. Scoring the ball would come much easier to Wroten if he took a page out of the Harden’s playbook and learned to play like a big guard. I think a week or so down in Houston with Harden could help clue Wroten in to his god given but untapped skill set.
Stephon Marbury: I realize that Marbury has more baggage than Delta and that he is a 6’2 scoring point guard who is currently practicing his trade in China, so this pairing may be a stretch for some of you. Still, I believe Starbury and TWroe are very similar in one important aspect of the game — they both attack the rim in a relentless fashion. In his early years with the TWolves, Marbury could score the ball in the paint with the best in the NBA, but he was frequently out of control and made bad decisions that cost his team. Wroten is a poor man’s version of the young Marbury that took the NBA by storm during the late 1990’s.
Eventually Marbury learned at what times and which situations where best for him to attack the rim with his lethal bag of tricks. Additionally, “Coney Island’s Finest” also figured out ways to be extremely aggressive on offense, but remain under control (For the most part.). I’m don’t think that working out with Starbury will turn Wroten into an all-star guard. However, I do think that a week or so spent in the gym with Marbury could help Wroten can some control of his offensive game.
Dell Curry: I could have picked any number of pure shooters from the NBA’s past or present to work on Wroten’s outside stroke and some improvement would come to fruition after a week in the gym and film room. However, I picked Dell for two reasons. The first is that while Curry was no doubt a great pure shooter, he was also a career reserve player (99 starts in nearly 1,100 games played) that made tremendous contributions to his teams off of the bench. I know Wroten has aspirations of being a starter in the League, but IMO he’s has long time 6th man written all over him. So, while Curry is fixing Wroten’s broken jumper he can also talk with the young Sixers’ guard about the keys to succeeding as a reserve in the NBA.
The second reason I like Del to for a week of working on TWroe’s jumper is because he has two young sons who play in the League (Steph & Seth). In theory, as a father of two twenty-something’s who were much sought after high school recruits, Curry should be able to easily relate to a player like Wroten, who is only 21 years old, and learned the game in the AAU basketball system.
Aaron McKie: The former 76er learned to play the all-around NBA game “the right way” under Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown, but I only need McKie to teach one element of his deep basketball knowledge to Wroten. I’m not talking about practice. I’m talking about DE-FENSE, something that TWroe struggled badly with last season. Unlike Wroten, McKie was an excellent defender during his 14 years in the NBA (102.1 career defensive rating) and finished in the Top 10 in steals for a season three different times.
However, much like Wroten, McKie (6-5 and just north of 200 pounds) was a big, combo guard, so the defensive techniques and advice McKie can pass on to Wroten should be very relatable. Now in a week or so Wroten is not going to become the lock down defender that McKie was for the 2000-01 Sixers, but any time with Aaron would be very beneficial to the young Sixers’ guard. Lastly, I want Wroten to spend some time with McKie so that the former NBA 6th man of the Year can further Dell Curry’s teaching on how to be a great reserve player in the League.
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