Why does Tony Wroten get blocked so often?
The Philadelphia 76ers added another player brimming with potential to their backcourt in Tony Wroten, a guard heading into his sophomore season. He will join Michael Carter-Williams, Evan Turner and others in an interesting backcourt for the Sixers as they head into a transition year. Wroten should get plenty of minutes to show his skills, so there is little purpose to breakdown how he performed for the Grizzlies in a limited role in his rookie season. Instead, we will focus on one aspect of his game that puzzled me. Why does Wroten, a 6’5″, athletic guard get blocked so often on his rim attempts?
According to 82games.com, Wroten got blocked on 21% of his attempts categorized as ‘close’, which is surprising for a player of his size and athleticism. Watching the film though, we see a few ways that Wroten can improve to cut down on his blocked attempts. Wroten is not a great jump shooter, shooting 25% on three point attempts while showing terrible form, so he will need to become a better rim finisher to provide value on offense.
The first thing that jumps out is his need to finish with his off hand when necessary. He relies on his left hand often, which leaves him vulnerable to be blocked when the defense is positioned on his left hand. In the clips below, you will see Wroten make a nice move to attack the basket. However, he does not see where the defense is and goes up with his left hand, when a right handed finish would be more appropriate. This leads to some easy blocks for the defense, as the ball is right in front of them as they challenge the shot.
Wroten needs to do a better job of seeing where the help defense is coming from and being comfortable finishing with his right hand to keep the ball away from the defender.
On top of this, Wroten shows a few other tendencies that lead to him getting blocked often, which doesn’t give his shots a chance to go in.
First, he goes to the rim in a straight line, right into the heart of the defense. He does not try to skirt around the defender, instead choosing to challenge them head on. The defender has an easy time challenging the shot, as Wroten does not make any attempt to disguise where the attempt is happening.
He then goes right up with his shot, without any hesitation or moves in the air to throw off the defender’s timing on the block. This makes the block easy for the defender, as Wroten goes straight up and lays the ball right into the hand of the shot blocker at the height of the shot blocker’s leap. When you combine this with these two tendencies, the block is easy for the defender, as Wroten does nothing to stop the timing of the defender.
Looking at Tyreke Evans, we can begin to see a few things that Wroten can incorporate into his game to lower the attempts that are blocked. Evans was blocked on only 9% of his close shots last year, according to 82games. He steps around the defender to get an uncontested layup or he hesitates in the air to move past the defender before he finishes the shot.
Evans is not a perfect comparison for Wroten but he does provide a nice example of how to avoid getting blocked at the rim. Wroten needs to incorporate some of these moves into his arsenal to avoid the defender and get his attempt off instead of getting it blocked. If he does, he could become a useful offensive player for a young Sixers team.