It has long been a collective vision of The Rights To Ricky Sanchez podcast that one day, in a not-too-distant future, the Philadelphia 76ers would find themselves ensnared in a tough playoff game going blow-for-blow with an opponent -- a space-time referred to as "the seesaw" -- where after a particularly gutsy finish, one Sixer would get back on defense to greet his man at halfcourt and slap the shit out of the hardwood to electrify the Wells Fargo Center crowd.
That Sixer will be Tony Wroten.
That Wroten has only been on the Sixers for two seasons is insane, because by my calculations, he is THE MOST SIXER of the Sam Hinkie/nWo Wolfpac Era. He has played in just 102 games for the Sixers -- one less than Marc Jackson's 103 and one more than Brian Skinner's 101 (those were the first two names I looked up holy shit I am a wizard pay me money) -- and yet he is the face of all that is Sixers in these last two seasons. Talent. Underutilized, under-appreciated, neglected-then-nurtured talent. The last surviving member of TEAM WHOP (RIP Khalif, Michael, and Vander). There's one way to get to the basket, and that's straight through your thorax. That's him.
Wroten is one of us. He wants it like we want it. If they stopped paying him, I don't think he'd stop showing up. There was never a question of Tony buying into the process, because Tony is the process. Tony's just a man with a gun. And in the chamber is nothing but his own face smiling back at him because Tony is nonviolent except when it comes to himself. In 2012, Memphis drafted a lump of clay with no jumper, tons of bounce, and one speed, had no place to put him, and left him on Brett Brown's doorstep with a bag of loose Halloween candies. Brett ate the candy and turned the clay into a human man with, well, all that stuff still, but now he's got an entire city at his back. Philly may not be totally aware of Tony Wroten or that they're expected to have his back, but they will when it counts.
While the nation has understandably gotten swept up in the mass hysteria of Ish Smith's Ish Smithness, we must not forget the way Wroten carried the team during their 0-17 start primarily with MCW nursing his torn labrum. Lord only knows how many less wins the Sixers could have accumulated, were it not for Wroten's performance during that first month of the season. And as he continues his rehab from a partial ACL tear, he's facing competition from Ish, Isaiah Canaan, the similarly-rehabbing Pierre Jackson, and whoever the Sixers draft. There will never be a seat reserved for Tony Wroten at the table, but that doesn't mean he won't be sitting down when dinner starts. He'll fashion his own chair out of loose cement and old alfredo sauce and punch you in the throat then take his own damn seat.
Because as much joy as he's already given us (worth re-listening to the story Spike told on the RTRS in which Tony asked somebody to help him fix an iPhone screen and it turned into a video game chill sesh -- starts at 53:30), there's still so much more left. I don't know what the question is that this article is supposed to be answering, but I know one thing. The answer is yes.
Can't wait to experience the playoffs. Seem so live. The crowds turnt. Players going at it. Type of games I live for. #JustWaitOnIt— Tony Wroten (@TWroten_LOE) April 29, 2015
Just wait on it. That hardwood isn't gonna slap itself, Tony.
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