Tony Wroten believes he will be the Knicks starting point guard next season, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.
Wroten, who will turn 23 on April 13, signed with New York as a free agent on March 16 after being waived by the 76ers. After tearing his ACL in January of last season, Wroten has continued to suffer from setbacks.
The Knicks are taking a flyer on Wroten, as they continue their search for a penetrating point guard who can defend the perimeter, which he has proven to be capable of, when healthy.
Prior to the Knicks game in Philadelphia on Friday, Wroten was asked if he expects to be the starting point guard when New York returns to face his former team next season.
"Without a doubt, without a doubt,'' Wroten told The Post. "I'm working hard. That's what I want to be. That's my mindset from here on out. I want to help my team, and I feel I can help them and learn from them in practice now [I can learn from] watching Carmelo [Anthony], Jose [Calderon], [Langston] Galloway, Kevin [Seraphin]. They brought me in like family. I'm already comfortable with the team and I haven't played a game yet or practiced. So I'm definitely excited."
It appears Wroten already has a supporter in Melo, as the All-Star has quickly taken the young point guard under his wing since arriving in New York.
"Melo has been one of my mentors, helping me, sitting down and talking to,'' Wroten told The Post. "We were just watching the game and he was telling me: 'See right there. If you just penetrate, bring the defense in and be able to kick out, it will help our offense and make it easier for everybody, not just me and him.' For Melo to be saying those things and encouraging me shows he believes in me and knows I'm capable of being one of the best penetrators in the league and can help this team tremendously.''
Last season Wroten averaged 16.9 points and 5.2 assists per game in Philadelphia before tearing his ACL.
They won't know if such a gamble will have paid off until they get a better glimpse of him during NBA Summer League, but taking a chance on Wroten is exactly the type of low-risk, high-reward like move the Knicks need to make as they look to get creative about making improvements next season.
Should Wroten come to produce, he's exactly the type of player (especially at the point guard position) New York is (and/or should be) looking for. He's young, comes at a cheap rate, has the ability to defend both guard positions, and is confident and aggressive enough to penetrate towards the basket. Such an assertiveness not only creates positive scoring opportunities for himself, but should also spread the floor and open things up for teammates around the perimeter.
Though he was playing for a very weak team in Philadelphia, Wroten's ample playing time allowed him to prove there's plenty of potential to explore.
Although he may not be back on the court just yet, being around the team at this point is still very positive. It sounds as though Wroten is building a certain rapport with his teammates, one that could potentially result in something special when he's able to hit the hardwood. This opportunity to learn the triangle offense early on will also aid Wroten's progress and development in New York.
As confident as he appears to be, it's really interesting to hear him say without hesitation that he'll be starting for the Knicks next season. After all, according to him, Calderon has been one of his biggest advocates early on. But competition is (and will be) good. The team should welcome a player who's hungry to prove he has what it takes to supersede Calderon. They've needed an upgrade for quite some time.