Wroten, Alabi stand out at Sixers practice

Wroten
Wroten
Posted: October 02, 2013

THIS PROBABLY isn't a good preview to the 76ers' season, but the two players who stood out during a roughly 45-minute run observed by the media were guard Tony Wroten and newly signed center Solomon Alabi.

Wroten has impressed coach Brett Brown with his activity throughout the five practices in 3 days at Saint Joseph's. He appears to play a very cerebral game, and made the nicest play of the scrimmage when he drove baseline and made a dump pass back in the lane to Alabi for an easy slam, as the second team played evenly with a first team that consisted of Michael Carter-Williams, James Anderson, Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young and Lavoy Allen. Spencer Hawes tweaked a knee earlier in the workout and sat on the sideline with a heavy wrap of ice.

"Anytime one of your better players goes down, it puts water on a practice, from the coaches to the players," Brown said after overseeing his squad's fifth practice. "Spencer went down and I think he's going to end up being fine, we'll figure that out later. But [after Hawes' injury] the gym got going, Tony Wroten resurrected the gym. All of a sudden, there was a spark in the gym with him. And then it became physical, and once it became physical, there are things that happen that put people down. That's just part of it. There was a stage where the practice was flat, and Spencer went down. Then I thought it got going with Tony's energy."

The 6-6 Wroten has a very intriguing game. He is lefthanded, which always seems to be an advantage at the offensive end, and he does supply that boundless energy Brown spoke of. He is menacing on defense, but has the ability to slow the game down in his mind, so as not to commit many mistakes at either end.

"It's just me, to bring energy, pick it up fullcourt, whatever it takes," said Wroten, acquired in August in a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies. "If it's coming off the bench or starting, I'm going to be the same person. [The fit here is] great. Coach always talks about pace, getting up and down, and I'm an up-and-down type of player. When I heard that, I was excited."

After playing only one season at the University of Washington, where he averaged 16 points and five rebounds, Wroten played in 35 games for the Grizzlies last season, after being taken with the 25th overall pick. With a very young and thin guard rotation for the Sixers so far, Wroten certainly will have a shot to get some serious minutes this season.

"He plays with tremendous energy when he stays focused," Brown said. "When he stays focused and stays in the game, he really can do some things, because he's so physically gifted. He's an excellent athlete. I think he's just a big wing. He passes so well. He's like a, I suppose, a Tyreke Evans-type player, a big player. He can play some 'two,' some 'one.' You instinctively say he can play 'one,' because I think he sees the court so well, and I love his pick-up points guarding. He can pick up fullcourt and harass point guards. Tony was the star of the day."

The injury to Hawes certainly didn't seem to be of any major concern as he appeared to walk fine after practice. His absence did give Lavoy Allen a chance to get on the court for the first time in training camp.

Allen has been nursing a left knee injury he said occurred in the offseason.

"It was a little cartilage damage that I did to my knee," he said. "It was the last week in July when I was working out and took a bad turn and woke the next day and the knee was swollen. I went to the doctor and he drained it. It's not bad, but it's going to take a little bit to get in shape.

"I haven't really played basketball in about 2 months. So it forces me to get in shape, so that I can get out there with those guys. Things are going well, though. It should only take me a few days to get back where I want to be."

Brett Brown spoke about the upcoming trip to Bilbao, Spain, and Manchester, England, for a pair of preseason games. "I think it's good to go to Europe. You know I've spent a lot of time overseas [coaching in Australia]. In a twisted way, to get this group together and go and do something like that with them, I feel like that trumps the disruption of two-a-days. I'm excited to take these guys over to Spain and play a FIBA game and then go to Manchester and play an NBA game" . . . The team will practice twice today, then once tomorrow, before heading overseas, where it will play on Oct. 6 and 8.


On Twitter: @BobCooney76

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