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Turnover She Wrote

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Don't blame Tony Wroten for not being a point guard.


Should ‘Turnover’ Tony Wroten ever play in the Rucker League, I’ve already got his nickname ready: Turnover She Wrote.

The Grizzlies have officially given up on the talented, shoot-first, shoot-last Wroten. Memphis sent their former 1st round pick to the 76ers yesterday for a future 2nd round pick…..that says it all right there. But it isn’t Tony’s fault really that his stock has slipped. He is who he is. It’s NBA team executives who are to blame.

“You can’t teach decision-making, you either got it or you don’t.” This is what Ed Gregory, the Godfather of basketball scouting, has told me numerous times. According to the former head of scouting for both the Cavaliers and Warriors (among other teams), a player may only improve marginally at making the right decisions out on the court, despite years of experience and coaching. That split-second where a player decides what pass to make, or not to make, comes and goes slower for certain guys. That’s something that never changes, it’s in their basketball DNA.

For Tony Wroten, it should have been obvious to NBA GM’s (not just in Memphis) that his affection for shot-taking and one-on-one duels were going to be a problem at the pro level. Sure he’s a lefty and he’s taller/longer than most PGs, but he’s not a point guard. As for the shooting guard spot, he doesn’t really shoot it that well either. His catch n’ shoot game needs a lot of work. Then there's the inconsistency. As I popped in and out of games at the Summer League in Vegas, Tony looked like Allen Iverson one day and Smush Parker the next. There's got to be a happy medium in there, somewhere.

Teams have found places on their rosters for players like Jason Terry and Eddie House over the years, who proved they were nowhere near being point guards. But those guys did something else really well, SHOOT. An NBA career is all about doing one particular thing very well, then adding to your game as the years go by. Coaches build gameplans, both offensively and defensively, around skills they can bank on every night.

So far, Tony Wroten has shown that his main skill out on the NBA court is driving coaches nuts. Hopefully that changes under Brett Brown in Philly.