The Knicks Should Inquire About Free Agent Tony Wroten


On December 24th, the Philadelphia 76ers and New Orleans Pelicans got to the negotiation table and swapped two second-round picks for Ish Smith. The Pelicans are in the midst of a retool and those picks could be effective in that effort while Smith gives the Sixers a backup point guard that can work with their big men. It’s a fine trade for both teams. 

The corresponding move to that trade was the 76ers releasing guard Tony Wroten.

After a trade from Memphis moved Wroten to the City of Brotherly Love after his rookie season, Wroten averaged 13.0 points and showed off his ability to get to the lane and make plays, he followed that up with 16.9 points last season, leading the Sixers in points per game.  He looked like a decent rotation player for years to come.

More from Knicks News

However, an ACL injury last season derailed his career for the interim. He played just 30 games last season before succumbing to injury and missed a bit of this past season, before returning to play eight games for Philadelphia. Since he was waived, teams had a chance to grab him and acquire his salary and restricted free agent status this upcoming offseason, but no one claimed him, making Wroten a free agent. 

I think the Knicks should make a move on him and sign him to a contract.

Mentioned before, the Knicks are without anyone who could get to the rim in spades. New York has some good catch and shoot players, both would be more dangerous if they had someone who could create space for them. They’re in need of a true slasher from the wing, a role Wroten has shown he can handle. Even in his return to the floor, Wroten averaged 8.9 drives per game in his eight games, would rank him among the best drivers in the league

To put that in perspective, that’s more than double the total of New York’s best driver/slasher – rookie guard Jerian Grant, averages 3.6 drives per game.

And the Knicks have a spot open in the back of their rotation for his ability. Grant is in the midst of a two-month long slump and Sasha Vujacic isn’t great at anything, other than being a pest to opposing guards. He compliments both Langston Galloway and Jose Calderon, both good at spacing the floor this season. In the event of pushing for a playoff spot this offseason, getting someone like Wroten in the 9th or 10th spot could help the Knicks in that quest.

However, there are some problems. Wroten had the ability to defend both shooting guards and point guards but has considerably struggled in his time back in the NBA, allowing a defensive field goal percentage of 55.2%, almost 12 percentage points above league average. Then, the slashing. It’s been good that he shows the ability to do so, but Wroten has struggled, shooting just 31.4% on them, the lowest percentage among players with at least 7.5 drives per game.

This opens up a special opportunity for both the Knicks and Wroten.

More from Daily Knicks

The Knicks could sign Wroten and then send him to Westchester, allowing him to get his footing back as a lead guard and slasher. The thinking being that the Knicks could look for a potential trade, while having Wroten in the D-League improving on his timing, defense, and finishing at the rim, being a potential upgrade in the second half of the season. The only potential roadblock is that Wroten has the option to accept or decline a D-League assignment, thanks to his status as a player with four or more years of experience. 

Next: Lance Thomas: The Story of a D-Leaguer Turned Crucial NBA Role Player

For the Knicks, if they can’t find a trade they want to partake in, taking a chance on Tony Wroten and allowing him to continue getting reps in Westchester, before bringing him up in the second half of the season. It’s a small risk that allows them to have a potential upgrade in a weak spot, while Wroten gets to remain close to returning to the NBA this season.