Interview with Tony Wroten and why he deserves another shot in the NBA
Tony Wroten has experienced one hell of a journey over the last decade. He went from being a standout guard and fan favorite of the “Process 76ers” to playing basketball overseas. In Philly, Wroten averaged close to 17 points per game at 21 years old and had major upside before partially tearing his ACL in 2015. Since then, he never was able to bounce back and receive what I would call a “fair shot” in returning to the NBA. After being signed and waived more than a handful of times, Wroten, like many players in that situation, made his way overseas to continue his basketball career.
Playing for Kalev/Cramo in 2018, Wroten put up 15 points per game in the VTB League, which was impressive at the age of 25. The jump from USA to Estonia can often be difficult but Wroten continued to impress. With his strong play, his hunger to return to the NBA grew stronger.
I had a chance to give Tony a call and speak with him about his desire to get back to the NBA. Here are some key points to our call:
“Honestly, team basketball and defense are a lot harder overseas because of the fact that they play a lot of help defense. In the NBA, guys are able to shoot better and spread the floor while overseas it is more impact and more team defense-oriented so I really believe it has helped me out even more because it’s a different type of game, a different type of defense. I went out of my comfort zone going overseas and being blessed with a god gifted ability that made me really realize it and cherish it and continue working hard to get back. I think I can transition and be better than I did was when I was first in the NBA.”
Seattle Legend: Tony Wroten 🔥 pic.twitter.com/jzrw4BE7CY
— ThrowbackHoops (@ThrowbackHoops) November 26, 2019
Wroten was a part of several clubs and continued to post impressive numbers overseas. Over three different stops, he averaged 13 points per game, 3 rebounds, and 6.2 assists. He stepped away from Badalona in April 2020, eyeing the NBA as his next destination.
Regardless of where he is playing, Wroten still holds tight to his killer mentality, which should give him another shot on an NBA roster.
“My rookie year when I got drafted with Memphis, Tony Allen and Zach Randolph took me in. I wasn’t playing a lot that year since we were a team making a serious playoff push, but the one thing that stuck with me was Tony Allen was always telling me when I got frustrated because I wasn’t playing that “you have to stay ready” and to just continue to work even when things aren’t going your way and even when it’s hard to find gyms and always trying to find a way. I used to go to the practice gym after every game and lifting weights so that stuck with me. And I know eventually we’re going to be playing basketball again so I have been working out every day just as if I was playing with a team.”
TONE WROTEN https://t.co/2H8YmU18bd
— Tone Wroten (@TWroten_LOE) June 29, 2020
Now, at 27 years old, Wroten is a seasoned vet to professional basketball. Currently in his prime, it’s easy to predict that he can make an impact on an NBA roster. He would be an ideal fit for a team looking to fill up the last roster spot before heading to Disney World.
Wroten spoke about staying ready if he should get a call.
“Always stay ready, with players getting hurt you’re going to get your opportunity, especially if you’re drafted late. You might be in the G-League or the end of the bench but it’s a long season and there’s going to be blowout games or players sitting out so you will get your opportunity and the worst thing you can do is not be ready because you might not get that opportunity again. Always stay ready and be working because your time is going to come sooner or later.”
Given his strong ties to the Sixers and the fact that Wroten was able to work with a young Joel Embiid and play under, at the time, new head coach Brett Brown, I asked Tony about the 76ers roster and his thoughts on the current look of the Sixers. He had nothing but positive things to say.
“I love the city and my teammates, even though we were going through tough times record-wise the city still stayed with us and we had great teammates. Being able to see guys like Joel blossom and I was there when he was hurt in his rookie years and when I was injured I wanted to work with him. He was training every single day so I’ve seen the growth and have been a part of the real process, being able to see that now and them being a playoff contender it has been great to see the growth from Coach Brown and Embiid.”
This Shamgod by Tony Wroten is one of the best crossovers of all-time 🔥 pic.twitter.com/LNvkk3oJvR
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) August 19, 2019
With his time in the NBA and overseas, Wroten’s game isn’t the only thing that has developed. He has also changed his mentality.
“I have grown and matured a lot, I continue to grow on and off the court. I stuck with the trials and tribulations and going overseas and learned that style of basketball and I’ll do even better than I did the first time. The stuff I’ve done in the past I have grown from and gotten more mature. I’ve gotten wiser and that’s what I’m most excited about is to show people how I have grown both on the court and off the court.”
Tony Wroten never got a fair shot to make his return to the NBA after injury. His ability to succeed overseas should help build a strong case. There’s no reason why Tony Wroten shouldn’t be on an NBA roster at some point in the very near future.