Memphis Grizzlies: Did Memphis Make a Mistake Selecting Tony Wroten Jr.?
Memphis did not have a lot to lose on draft night. All we really needed was a shooting guard to replace O.J. Mayo, who did not live up to expectations. Hey, if he was a combo guard, that would be even better.
The Grizzlies selected Tony Wroten Jr. out of University of Washington, known for driving to the basket and pretty good defense. He can score and play defense, which is what Memphis wants.
But were there other options left on the board who were better than Wroten?
I think the main reason for selecting Wroten was based on his athletic and natural talents. That's not to diminish his scoring abilities, but it was a big contribution to why he got drafted by the Grizzlies.
The problem is I really don't see what Wroten can bring to this team to improve it. Sure, he could replace the defense and scoring ability of Mayo, but what else could he really bring? A little more scoring?
I guess some would argue that we need a quality backup to Mike Conley (which makes sense), though, we may have been able to get a better player. The two who would be up for consideration would be Will Barton and Doron Lamb.
Doron Lamb was the point guard from Kentucky who went to the Milwaukee Bucks with the 42nd pick, which was unexpected. Lamb didn't get much attention, mostly because of the star-studded cast he played with at Kentucky.
Lamb would have given the Grizzlies the best shot to improve the three-point percentage. He shot almost 50 percent from behind the arc, which the Grizzlies ranked 27th in.
That's not even mentioning that he was a very consistent scorer from other places on the court. He could drive to the basket and draw the foul, or he could step back and take a jumper. Either way, he had a good chance of making it.
Ultimately though, I think Lamb doesn't have as high a ceiling as Wroten does. He doesn't really "excel" at either the point guard or shooting guard position. He lacks versatility, which is a big plus if you're a combo guard, considering the meaning of the word "combo."
Ultimately, I would have chosen Wroten over Lamb any day. However, I don't think I can say the same thing for Barton.
There wouldn't be a scenery change, as Barton played for the Memphis Tigers as a guard/forward. He was taken by the Trail Blazers with the 40th pick, which will be considered a steal. I, like many others, thought he was an underrated first rounder.
Barton had a much better three-point percentage (.346) than Wroten (.161), more points per game (18.1) than Wroten (16.7) and more rebounds (8.1) than Wroten (5.0).
Perhaps, his best known ability is scoring. He can hit shots from anywhere on the court, though that does come at a price. While his decision making has gotten better, he still forces shots every once in a while. This won't be too much of a problem at the next level, especially for teams looking for a dynamic scorer.
In addition, his defense isn't that bad. While not as good as Wroten's, it's still commendable and would fit pretty well with the Grizzlies, as he averages over a steal per game.
The most noticeable downside with Barton is his strength and frame, which do not do wonders. He's thin and not that strong, though, he can work out. Plus, guys like Kevin Durant show that you don't necessarily need super strength to succeed.
The main reason Memphis didn't draft him was his unproven ability to play point guard. Even he describes himself as a pure shooting guard. However, both he and Wroten are around the same height (6'5" and 6'4", respectively) and have similar passing abilities.
I'm not saying that Wroten was a bad pick. I liked the decision and realize he can turn into a really good player.
But when looking at the options Memphis had, I'm not sure I can justify passing on Barton. He arguably had more talent and could be much more effective than Wroten earlier.
I think the Grizzlies really missed out on this one.
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