It may only be two preseason games against non-title contending Boston and Charlotte, but Sixers fans have every right to be optimistic about how guard Tony Wroten has performed on offense over the last two contests. Wroten has not only been the top scorer both nights, 19 points against the Celtics and 15 points against the Hornets, but his decision making and level of control over his game appears drastically improved. If this change is not temporary, and Wroten has matured as a player, then his presence could have a positive impact on the court for the 76ers this year.
We all knew TWroe has the ability to score in the League, so his point production against the Celtics and Hornets does not come as a surprise. What is noticeably different about his play during the small preseason sample is that Wroten appears less prone to mental lapses.
In 2013-14 Wroten was simply a turnover machine. His assist to turnover ratio was worrisome at best. In 72 games for the Sixers last season he averaged 3 assists per game while also racking up nearly 2.8 turnovers. That’s about as close to a 1:1 ratio as you can get and that’s not a good thing for an NBA guard. Wroten’s tendency to commit turnovers helped the Sixers to let up the third most fast break points in the League. In 2013-14 Wroten also owned a +/- number of -438.
Through two preseason games Wroten has had 12 assists and 9 turnovers. Against Charlotte he had an impressive 7 assists with only 3 turnovers and was a +10 in the box score. Yes, Wroten is not perfect and still needs to work on his decision making with the basketball (5 dimes and 6 TOs vs. Boston), but the Sixers have seen a tremendous improvement from last year when was out of control on most nights and at times one questioned whether or not he belonged in the Association.
It’s definitely too early to set anything in concrete but if Wroten, who recently admitted he “worked on every aspect of his game” this summer, can cut down on his turnovers and his basketball IQ continues to improve, the Sixers might be able to collect several more wins in a season that every online “expert” and Las Vegas smart guy (over/under of 15.5 wins) expects during this season of the “double tank”.
Wroten brings talent to this young team. With his ability to get to the basket at will, create of the bounce, push the ball on fast breaks, and occasionally get steals while playing the passing lanes he’s arguably the second best player on the active roster. The major factors keeping Wroten from being a very solid player in this League are his previously discussed TOs and his inability to knock down the long ball. In 2013-14 he was a horrid 21.3% shooting from downtown and is a 21.6% shooter over his career (107 games). How about this stat…Wroten had 11 games last season where he shot 0-3 or more on 3PAs. In those 11 games, the Sixers record was 1-10. Tony loves the three-ball, but he doesn’t have the pure stroke yet to be a threat from behind the line. His constant chucking from deep was a major issue for the Sixers offense in 2013-14.
Still, all is not lost. Wroten is a young (21 years old), developing player, so if he continues to decrease the number of times he turns the ball over and if his shot selection can get better (Read: Lay off the threes.), Wroten could become an asset to this team on the court or as trade bait that could bring back more of the “assets” Sam Hinkie loves so much.
Tyler Cook is a scribe for Philadunkia. You can follow him on Twitter @ .
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