More Sports:

December 04, 2015

With Wroten and Marshall, point guard reinforcements coming for Sixers

On Friday, the Sixers waived point guard Phil Pressey due to the imminent return from injury of another point guard, Tony Wroten. Head coach Brett Brown, who prefers the Sixers to play fast (perhaps even faster than their 7th-ranked pace), is excited to welcome the athletic 6’5” slasher back into the fold.

Wroten will make his debut during Saturday’s matinee against the Denver Nuggets, playing 12-14 minutes according to his coach. Adding him to the lineup is the basketball equivalent of drinking a Red Bull, maybe even two.

“Kamikaze energy, downhill aggression,” Brett Brown said. “There are problems at times with that because he hasn’t played for so long that you’re going to expect some turnovers and [him] playing in a crowd. But I’ll trade all of that to have him back and to have his seniority in our world.” 

Now in his fourth NBA season, the 22-year-old Wroten qualifies as a grizzled vet in Sixerland. Brown, who texts back and forth with Wroten like he often does with players, said his point guard would have returned to the court several weeks ago if it were up to himself.

Wroten, who underwent surgery back in February on a partially torn ACL performed by Dr. James Andrews (never a name you want to hear), says he feels much better than the last time he went through this process. As a junior in high school, Wroten tore his ACL on the football field.

“I went to see Dr. Andrews and he was like, ‘Wow, I was surprised you were able to play this long’ on the knee I was on,” Wroten said. “So coming back this year, it’s just a total difference. [I’m] more explosive.”

Wroten said he spent much of his unplanned time off around his family. Since gearing back up to play, what has he seen from the team?

“Man, we’re in almost every game,” Wroten said. “That road trip we just came off, we were up every fourth quarter. It’s not like we’re not playing defense.”

“And being in all of them games, we just couldn’t close it out or there were just too many turnovers. Those were the little things I’ve seen. And with my game and what I can bring, I feel like I can help them. I feel like I can be the closer for the team.”

The Marshall Plan

The Sixers are also close to getting back their other point guard coming off a torn ACL. Kendall Marshall went through 5-on-5 drills with the team for the first time during Friday’s practice.

Marshall couldn’t give a specific date, but he expects to return at some point in the next two weeks. He says the pain in his right leg is subsiding, but it’s still something that he has to gauge.

“It was a little bit of tendinitis [today],” Marshall said. “But it’s kind of hard to decipher because I’ve had tendinitis since I was 14.”

When asked about his relationship with Wroten, Marshall admitted that he wasn’t a major fan of his teammate before signing with the Sixers this summer. Marshall was selected 12 spots ahead of Wroten in the 2012 NBA Draft.

“There has always been this tension between us,” Marshall said. “Naturally when two guys play the same position and you’re going through draft workouts, you’re just not going to like the guy. I know personally that I didn’t care for him too much.”

Naturally, the relationship has changed as Marshall got to know Wroten.

“When you hang out with somebody, become teammates, rehab together, start to talk basketball, and learn about the guy, that naturally brings you closer,” Marshall said. “I think it will help us on the court.”

What’s the rotation?

The Sixers waived Pressey, but they are close to carrying four point guards unless a move is made.

“Somebody is getting hit,” Brown said. Outside of pushing Isaiah Canaan mostly to shooting guard, the Sixers head coach doesn’t know much else, though.

“Kendall and Tony, although we’re thrilled to have them back, it’s a whole other curve ball thrown in to begin the second quarter of our season,” Brown said.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann