Tony Wroten has been assigned to the D-League’s Reno Bighorns for the third time this season, after accompanying the team on their three-win Western road trip and scoring his first-ever NBA bucket in a blowout win over the Sacramento Kings.
From the press release:
The Memphis Grizzlies re-assigned Tony Wroten to the NBA Development League’s Reno Bighorns, Grizzlies General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Wallace announced today. This marks the third D-League assignment this season for the rookie guard. … The Seattle native will be with the Bighorns for their next game tonight at Idaho.
Is this normal? Do other teams send rookies back and forth to the D-League on this regular of a basis? What is it about Wroten and fellow D-League frequenter Josh Selby that have them on a yo-yo between Memphis and Reno, constantly bouncing back and forth?
Why does this bother me so much? Because I think Tony Wroten has the potential to be a really good NBA basketball player, one who needs to be practicing against the big boys just as much as he needs playing time.
Maybe he’s just going to Reno because Lionel Hollins and the rest of the coaching staff don’t think there’s any way he’s going to play in the Grizzlies’ upcoming matchups against the San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks, and Los Angeles Clippers. Which, okay, given the number of close games the Grizzlies are in, is understandable.
But I can’t help but wonder if the constant shuttling back and forth between the Grizzlies and the Bighorns isn’t doing more harm than good, and I wonder whether there’s a strategy in place for how to develop Wroten or whether they’re just moving him around on a whim. I don’t want to see the Grizzlies waste another first round draft pick by not developing talent.