LAS VEGAS - Tony Wroten heard your criticism. He knows you don’t think he can shoot. The doubts served as motivational fuel as Wroten prepared for last month’s NBA Draft and then to join the Memphis Grizzlies, who selected him 25th overall. During Wroten’s debut for the Grizzlies in the NBA Summer League on Saturday, the work showed.
Wroten drained a pair of three-pointers and shot 7-of-8 from the free throw line during an impressive performance. Wroten finished with 19 points, eight rebounds and six assists as Memphis beat New York’s summer squad, 93-77.
“I thought I did pretty good,” Wroten said afterward. “We got the win - that’s what matters the most.”
Wroten was proudest of his shooting display, which was atypical of his season with the Huskies. Wroten made two three-pointers in a game just twice (at St. Louis and at Arizona) and shot 16.1 percent from beyond the arc. The free throw line, where Wroten shot 58.3 percent, was an ongoing struggle. The game probably featured the best shooting of Wroten’s post-high school career.
“They said I couldn’t shoot,” said Wroten. “I used that as motivation. I thought I could shoot. That’s why I’m glad I worked every day on my jumper. You could see the results.”
Even before coming to Las Vegas, Wroten could tell the difference in his shooting.
“I’ve seen a lot better shots,” he said. “Shots falling. Even when I miss shots, it still feels good. More consistent.”
According to Wroten, the key has been repetition rather than any adjustment to his form. However, Wroten’s stroke from long distance looked smoother and more natural than last season, which could help his accuracy.
Saturday was just one game. Erasing questions about his outside shooting will take Wroten months, if not years. His college numbers spoke for themselves. Still, it was a start toward the work Wroten has done paying off, and toward silencing the critics.
- Kevin PeltonJul142012
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