The Philadelphia 76ers pulled off a trade for 20-year-old point guard Tony Wroten on Thursday, as first reported by Adrian Wojranowski of Yahoo! Sports, and I loved it, but I received mixed feedback from Orlando Magic fans when I tweeted this response to the news:
The deal that Philly just got is sort of something I wish Orlando would have done.— Tyler Lashbrook (@lashy) August 22, 2013
So I wanted to use this post to elaborate on my thoughts on the trade and why I would have liked to see the Magic pursue a similar deal this offseason.
I loved this trade for Philly for myriad of reasons. The fact that Wroten is over a year and a half younger than the 76ers' 11th overall pick, Michael Carter-Williams, is preposterous. Wroten's a 6-foot-6, high-energy combo-guard with all the physical tools to play both guard positions
I also love the competition that it creates for Carter-Williams. It gives Philly a young, feisty, scrappy guy, in Wroten, to push its 21-year-old point guard of the future.
But the beauty in the trade is that it's not going to help Philadelphia win this year. At all. Wroten and Carter-Williams are going to clank shots off the rim all season. If they are paired in the backcourt together, they could very well be the worst-shooting tandem in NBA history. The Wroten/Carter-Williams backcourt tandem--with Evan Turner at small forward, are you kidding me?--will shoot on the wrong side of 40 percent from the floor.
And that's totally okay for the Sixers. With each brick going up, a ping pong ball gets stacked on Philly's side, and that's exactly what it wants.
So, let's get this straight: the 76ers picked up an athletic combo guard who averaged 12 points, six rebounds, and four assists per 36 minutes in his first NBA season, for a "future second-round pick." AND he won't help them win? So they still drive the pace car in the Race For Andrew Wiggins? I understand Wroten's efficiency was terrible -- as highlighted by his 46.1 True Shooting percentage and 22.7 turnover rate -- but that's okay. He was born in 1993.
So why did I want to see Orlando make a similar deal? Well, why not?
Why wouldn't the Magic want to take a cheap look at young, unproven point guard? A "future second-round pick" is at the bottom of the NBA Trade Food Chain and, well, the Magic kind of need a young point guard. Jameer Nelson is tilting on the wrong side of 30, and Ronnie Price has never played more than 14.4 minutes per game or shot over 43.1 percent in his eight-year career. The jury is still out whether Victor Oladipo can even spell the point guard position for small stretches, let alone play there full-time.
Two guys similar to Wroten intrigue me: Isaiah Thomas from the Sacramento Kings and Kendall Marshall from the Phoenix Suns. Thomas is the much more proven player: in his first two seasons, he's started 99 games for the Kings and put up career averages of 13 points and 4 assists on 44.3 percent shooting. It's fair to wonder whether the Kings would part with its young point guard for just a future second-round pick, but Sacramento did trade for Greivis Vasquez and then signed rookie Ray McCallum to a three-year contract. And word Jimmer Fredette is still there. With that depth, a second-round pick starts to sound not-so-bad to unload Thomas and the nearly $2 million left on his deal.
The Suns, on the other hand, might part ways with their 22-year-old point guard a lot more quickly if another team dangled a future second-rounder in front of them. Phoenix traded for Eric Bledsoe and still has Goran Dragic, which completely buries Marshall on the depth chart.
Marshall, a 6-foot-4, pass-first point guard from the University of North Carolina, struggled in just about every aspect that he was criticized in leading up to the 2012 NBA Draft. Marshall was practically a matador on defense, couldn't shoot, and couldn't get to the free-throw line. But Marshall still has an absurd assist rate and was a lottery pick in the summer of 2012. For the Magic, he might be worth a future second-round pick.
Not acquiring a young point guard this offseason doesn't mean the end of the world for the Magic. They likely wouldn't have found anyone to be the point guard of the future. Maybe general manager Rob Hennigan didn't see his guy in this year's crop of free agents. Maybe no trade offer was good enough for Hennigan to pull the trigger on. Most likely it's just the dog days of August and I'm speculating nonsensical things to keep me stimulated until basketball comes back.
I think that's probably it.