MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis Grizzlies selected University of Washington guard Tony Wroten with the 25th pick in Thursday night’s NBA draft.
Memphis was looking to fill a void at backup point guard and the 6-foot-6 Wroten from Washington has a reputation of being a passer and facilitator. He has the skills necessary to back up Memphis starter Mike Conley.
His shortcoming is his shot. Wroten shot 44.3 percent from the field and only 16.1 percent beyond the arc.
Wroten averaged 16 points a game and 3.86 assists during his only season for the Huskies, earning him All-Pac-12 honors and was named Pac-12 freshman of the year. He scored at least 20 points in 12 games.
The Grizzlies entered the draft with only the first-round pick.
Wroten, who has the quickness and talent to get to the rim, can help a shortcoming exposed during last season’s playoffs. The lack of an effective second point guard to battle Chris Paul contributed to the Grizzlies losing the seven-game first-round playoff series to the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Grizzlies tried rookies Jeremy Pargo and Josh Selby backing up Conley this season. Conley averaged more than 35 minutes a game in the regular season, a testament to coach Lionel Hollins’ lack of confidence in the young reserves.
Wroten drew interest from Memphis after he worked out for the team. While there were shortcomings in defense and shooting, he seemed to recover in time to make plays.
The draft played out in such a way that Memphis seemed destined to look at the point guard need. Shooters such as John Jenkins of Vanderbilt and Evan Fournier from France were taken in picks before Memphis.
There were several guards available when Memphis was on the clock, such as Doron Lamb and Marquis Teague of Kentucky, swingman Will Barton of Memphis and Tyshawn Taylor of Kansas.
Memphis’ strength is in the frontcourt with All-Star center Marc Gasol and forwards Zach Randolph and Rudy Gay. Reserves Darrell Arthur and Marreese Speights provide Memphis depth on the front line, though both are restricted free agents with Memphis yet to make a move on either. Speights, picked up in a trade from Philadelphia in January, has said he wants to return to the Grizzlies.
That made the needs at guard more evident. Guard Tony Allen provides defensive energy with not much offensively from the outside.