Tony Wroten Working towards a Big Return
The 2015 season was not great for 23-year old Tony Wroten as he suffered a torn ACL in January and knee surgery in February 2015. For the Philadelphia 76ers, the point guard averaged 16.9 points, 5.2 assists per game, and 1.6 steals per game. Although his first few years in the league have not gone as planned with injuries, he is considered to be one of the more promising young point guards in the league because of his raw athleticism and size.
One weakness of the Renton, Washington native is his jump shot. In 145 games throughout his career, he shot 23.1 percent from 3-point range. However, as of lately, he has been working to fix that as he announced on Twitter recently, that he has been training daily with one of the greatest shooters of all-time, Allan Houston.
During 12 seasons in the NBA, Houston made a grand total of 1,305 3-point field goals, going 40.2 percent from beyond the arc. He is currently in the Top 35 all-time for career 3-point field goal percentage. He as a great shooter and known for his textbook perfect shooting form.
Houston played for the New York from 1996 to 2005, made two All-Star Game appearances, and helped the Knicks get to the 1999 NBA Finals, while leading the teams in minutes and ranking No. 2 in points per game during that impressive postseason run.
Houston, the current assistant general manager for the Knicks and general manager of the Westchester Knicks, may just be the perfect mentor for Tony Wroten. Prior to his injury Wroten was already having a breakout season, but never got a chance to fully make his mark due to injury.
Growing up he accomplished some big feats and honors. At 13 years old, Wroten was featured in newspapers as a top area college prospect in Seattle with Peyton Siva who attended Louisville and Joshua Smith who attended UCLA. As a freshman in high school he was named to the 2009 All-Washington State Class 4A first team, after a remarkable freshman year averaging 20.8 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 3.8 assists. It was a feat that no other high school freshman in the area ever accomplished. By senior year he was a 5-star recruit and ranked the third best point guard in the country. He represented Team USA at the 2011 Nike Hoop Summit, and also finished with 16 points, 10 assists, and seven rebounds in the Jordan Brand Classic High School All-Star game alongside big name players like Anthony Davis, Bradley Beal, and Austin Rivers.
He went on to play at the University of Washington and was named to the All-Pac 12 First Team behind 16.3 points per game and a Pac-12 regular season championship. He trained with Washington Huskies alumni Isaiah Thomas and Brandon Roy in the offseason and went on to get drafted the 25th overall selection by the Memphis Grizzlies. He barely played, bounced back and forth between the Grizzlies D-League affiliate, and only saw 8 minutes of play.
In his second year, he was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers for a future second-round draft pick. Nine games into the 2013 season he was awarded his first career start and recorded a triple double with 18 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists in a 123-117 overtime victory against the Houston Rockets. Wroten finished the season averaging 13.0 points and 3.0 assists per game. In the 2014-2015 his numbers improved to nearly 17 points per game until he suffered an ACL injury just 30 games into the season. In 2015-2016 he was not fully healed, averaging 8.4 points per game before being released by the Sixers on Christmas Eve.
Wroten has been injury bitten his entire career. He tore his ACL playing football his sophomore year in high school and missed his entire junior season. He had an arthroscopic knee procedure to repair his meniscus his freshman year at the University of Washington. And then he suffered another ACL his second year in the NBA.
Phil Jackson and the New York Knicks are determined to get Wroten back to healthy in his two year deal. Je stands at 6’6” tall with a 6’9” wingspan. He can bring the high level, relentless defense the Knicks need from their point guard position. Wroten has picked the Jersey Number 5 to go along with #6, Kristaps Porzingis and #7, Carmelo Anthony. Wroten will hopefully bring his court vision, passing, ball handling, and scoring to the Knicks squad in Phil Jackson’s triangle offense to free up Porzingis and Anthony and break down defenses. Let’s hope Tony Wroten makes good on his promise and comes back stronger, healthier, and better than ever.