The Memphis Commercial Appeal’s CAGrizBlog Twitter feed (which seems to be breaking a lot of Griz-related news lately) reported this afternoon that rookie Tony Wroten has been called back to Memphis from the D-League’s Reno Bighorns, and second-year man Josh Selby is headed down to get some playing time and "regain confidence."
Wroten was widely regarded as a good draft pick, raw but talented, and he’s looked that way ever since Summer League. One hopes that he and Selby can develop into the bench scoring threats the Grizzlies seem to need so badly, but neither of them have seen much action.
During last season — and without the benefit of a Summer League or preseason to adjust to the NBA game — Selby played in 28 games, averaging 8.5 minutes. This year, Selby has played a total of 15 minutes spread across 5 games. Wroten has played 8 total minutes spread across 3 games for a season average of 2.7 minutes. Wroten has yet to score a single point in a real NBA game.
With Mike Conley firmly established as The Guy running the offense, and Jerryd Bayless — even though he’s struggled a bit — clearly the best backup point guard the Grizzlies have had in a while (except for Playoff Greivis Vasquez, who was a different player than Regular Season Greivis Vasquez), it’s been hard for Selby and Wroten to find any time to play.
Last year in the D-League, Selby averaged 25.1 points a game with a PER of 25.3, so dude can ball. He was co-MVP of the 2012 Las Vegas Summer League with Damian Lillard. It’s just a question of whether he can ball against the best of the NBA’s best on a nightly basis. Wroten, by contrast, is completely unproven, all potential and no results.
Given Lionel Hollins’ notorious distrust of rookies and distrust of backup point guards (see also: Mayo, Ovinton J’Anthony; Arenas, Gilbert; Vasquez, Greivis; Lowry, Kyle; et al), it’s hard to see how riding the end of the bench is going to help Wroten much if Hollins won’t actually play him. But we’ll see. Surely he’ll be better than Mike Bibby, right? I liked the Wroten pick. I want Wroten to be a really good Griz player. I want him to develop and blossom as a Grizzly, but I've seen too many other young guards come here only to sit for two seasons and get traded for cash money.
I guess what I'm saying is this: I hope Tony Wroten has been called up because Lionel’s going to give him five minutes a game to get his sea legs running with the big boys — but I’m not holding my breath.
Ed. Note: The original version of this article said Selby was co-MVP of the D-League last year with Damian Lillard. That's obviously impossible, since this is Lillard's first season in the league. They were co-MVP's of the 2012 Summer League. I've corrected the error in the article.