Throughout the Lionel Hollins era in Memphis, fans have experienced the frustrating practices of point guard "un-development." Point guards are drafted or acquired for the betterment of the team and the assistance of spelling Mike Conley only to find themselves on the tail end of a Lionel Hollins' glare and head shake. Short leashes all around for these backup point guards (and one sharp-shooter).
Tony Wroten joined the Memphis Grizzlies via the first round of the 2012 draft. His speed and explosiveness reminded evaluators of Russell Westbrook, but his lack of shooting ability reminded them more of Shaquille O'Neal. Besides Conley and Marc Gasol, Wroten's abilities make him the most exciting player in the Grizzlies franchise. His potential just oozes out, but Lionel Hollins does not play potential. He plays results.
Through the 2012-13 NBA season, Tony Wroten only played 272 minutes, sixth least among 2012 first rounders. Most of his minutes were garbage time minutes, but when he did see meaningful playing time, he was a ball of fury. Often pegged as turnover happy, Wroten had a decent assist/turnover differential, 43-29, but his strongest asset is his lock-down perimeter defense.
His best game of the season was against Brooklyn on the January 25, playing 25 minutes, he posted 11 points, 4 assists and 2 blocks, primarily playing against CJ Watson and holding him to 37% shooting.
A bright future for this man.
Production: C+ (for his PT, not too shabby)
General Grizznosity: B (defensive minded, can't shoot...sounds like a Grizzly to me)
Clutch Performance: C (playoff minutes were spotty running the offense)
Overall Grade: C+
Tony Wroten's season could simply be called the Josh Selby story. With some signs of big promise in the Summer League, Selby put up HUGE numbers, winning the co-MVP honors, with Damien Lillard. His three-point shooting was much improved and he was ready to make a steady impact off of the Grizzlies bench. The Josh Selby train was immediately derailed while heading to Lionel Hollins Approval Station. After just 10 games played, he was included in the salary dumping package that brought Jon Leuer to Memphis and freed up financial space to make a move to rid the roster of Rudy Gay.
My biggest regret for Selby is that he never got to do what he did best: explore the open floor. A quick, run-n-gun penetrator, Selby was relegated to garbage time minutes for much of his career and now finds himself without an NBA home. His greatest performance for the Grizzlies was in a blowout loss to Dallas when he scored 10 points in 16 minutes, had zero turnovers and attempted 7 free throws.
General Grizznosity: D
Clutch Performance: D
Overall Grade: D
Remember that thing..you know...that thing we needed in the playoffs? What was it..? Defense? no. Post players? no. White guy shooter? close. Any shooter at all? YES! I was confused then and I am confused now. Why wasn't Chris Johnson retained? The Grizzlies ended up signing two D-League products to round out the roster, why not give the man his due?
Johnson was signed to two 10-day contracts out the D-League to buffer the time between the Jon Leuer salary dump and the Rudy Gay deal. His shooting potential was exciting and Lionel actual saw fit to use him, playing him 102 minutes (yes, almost half Wroten's minutes in 20 days...I think I'm going to be sick). Johnson proved to be the sharp-shooter everyone pegged him to be, shooting 44% from the arc. His minutes were short and sporadic but when he did see over significant minutes, he knocked down at least two threes in three of the four games.
He seemed to bring a spice of life to the bench with his underrated potential. I can remember checking box scores specifically to see how he did, hoping he would make the team. A good story, gone wrong. Had he stayed on the team, saw a few more minutes and worked a little with the starters, he could have been a contributor at sometime during the playoffs.
General Grizznosity: A- (Fans loved his story, good energy)
Clutch Performance: D (0-5 3pt. against Thunder)
Overall Grade: C