NBA Draft 2012: Guard Options - Tony Wroten & Tyshawn Taylor

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Mar 27, 2012; New York, NY, USA; Washington Huskies guard Tony Wroten (14) drives the lane during the first half half of the semifinal round against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at the NIT held at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

The Atlanta Hawks have rounded out their last set of pre-draft workouts by bringing in a duo of guards on Tuesday. With the pending free agency of every back-up guard on the roster, this could certainly be a target area for Atlanta in the draft, so let’s take a look at these two guys a bit more in-depth.

Tony Wroten

The Player: Wroten is a big point guard prospect at 6’5, and scouts have drooled over his combination of size, strength, and athleticism at the position since he was in high school. After just 1 year at Washington in which he averaged 16 points and nearly 4 assists per game, he left for the NBA with varying grades.

Strengths: Wroten is a strong finisher at the rim with the ability to purely out-muscle the opposition with his size and strength. Although he did not defend at a particularly high level at Washington, the tools are there for a potential stopper in the back-court if he can be pushed to focus more on that end. Court vision is a strength of Wroten’s, and he can be absolutely electric in ball distribution when he makes the correct decisions. His college PER of 21.07 is very solid for a freshman, and despite playing in the lowly Pac-10, he was able to make his mark nationally a bit. One of the positives for Wroten as a point guard prospect is that he’s a willing passer, and at 6’5 with a good frame and a crazy 6’9 wingspan, he would have a size advantage over virtually anyone else at the position today.

Weaknesses: When GM’s and scouts discuss Wroten, the favorite phrase seems to be, “he would be a top-5 pick, if……” and there are several “if”‘s. First of all, his jump shot is a bit of a trainwreck at the moment. Chad Ford of ESPN refers to his jump shot as “broken” while NBADraft.net’s Logan Lemberger states that Wroten “greatly needs to improve his jump shot, as well as free throw shooting”. If the numbers were as ugly as they were in the college atmosphere (58% from the line), this is a pretty big concern. In addition, his decision-making has been spotty at best. Shot selection has been an issue with too many jump shots being the culprit, and his ability to command and run an offense is certainly far from cemented. There are also some make-up concerns with Wroten. He has a reputation as a tough player to coach, and he often plays out-of-control when he tries to do too much.

Current Projections: #23 pick to Atlanta (ESPN – Chad Ford), #32 pick to Washington (NBADraft.net), #31 pick to Charlotte (Draft Express)

NBA Comparisons: These are all over the board with Wroten. On the high-end, I have heard comparisons to Gary Payton and Rajon Rondo for his length and potential defensive upside coupled with make-up and jump shot questions. In a different direction, I’ve heard Tyreke Evans because of his combo-guard nature with good size and strength at the rim. On the flip side, Iman Shumpert may be more realistic, or Javaris Crittendon if things don’t go well.

Tyshawn Taylor

The Player: Taylor was a four-year starter at one of the nation’s best programs in Kansas. The 6’3 point guard averaged 16.6 points and 4.8 assists a game in his final year at Kansas and was named to various All-american teams in a 3rd-team or honorable mention spot.

Strengths: Taylor will likely make his NBA bones as a defender. At 6’3-6’4, he has very good size for the point guard spot, and has very solid defensive fundamentals and tools to go along with very good athleticism. In addition, Tyshawn was a career 37% 3-point shooter in college that peaked at nearly 40% in his senior season. While these aren’t elite numbers, he took a lot of threes and if he cut down on the forces and improved his shot selection, those numbers would be more than satisfactory for the NBA. He is aggressive and pushes tempo effectively while attacking the rim and creating free throw attempts (over 5 per game last season). Lastly, he has top-end straight line speed and that’s an asset in pushing tempo.

Weaknesses: Much like Wroten above, Taylor has some decision-making concerns. He is turnover prone, averaging nearly 4 a game in college including a meltdown against Duke in his senior season that saw him commit 11 turnovers in one game. He’s not a true point guard to this point, and while he was asked to do a lot of scoring at Kansas, his future would likely need to be as more of a distributor at the next level. There are small make-up concerns with some off-court issues at Kansas including some fights, and while that doesn’t necessarily torpedo his stock, it certainly doesn’t help it. His jump shot, while decent enough, could use some improvement in consistency.

Current Projections: #46 pick to New Orleans (ESPN – Chad Ford), #51 pick to Boston (NBADraft.net), #35 pick to Golden State (Draft Express)

NBA Comparisons: The highest praise I’ve seen bestowed on Taylor was a Jrue Holiday comparison. I can see that because of size and his combo guard nature, as well as jump shooting inconsistency. I’ve also seen various bust projections such as Jerome Dyson or Armon Johnson. One comp that I like a lot? Another former Kansas guard: Mario Chalmers.

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