Tony Wroten was benched for the last 5 minutes, 18 seconds of regulation and the overtime Saturday in a 76ers loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. He said the move did not influence his performance Monday against the Boston Celtics.
Whatever the reason, the usually aggressive Wroten was passive and a nonfactor in a 105-87 loss to Boston.
"I'm just trying to find my niche," Wroten said after he attempted just three shots in nearly 30 minutes. ". . . I'm not trying to do anything over what I am supposed to do. So I've just got to continue to try to find my way and hopefully things come together."
Wroten is the team's leading scorer at 16.5 points a game. His job is to attack the rim and score baskets for the Sixers (2-22).
"I'm just trying to get back into the rhythm," said Wroten, who was sidelined from Nov. 27 through Dec. 11 with a sprained right knee. "Obviously, I'm not starting. So you know, I have to get started real quick. . . . Sometimes coming off the bench is harder than starting because you have to keep the intensity or bring it up some."
The 6-foot-6, 205-pounder started 14 of the team's 15 games before he was hurt in the Brooklyn game on Nov. 26.
A lot of those starts had to do with Michael Carter-Williams' recovery from left shoulder surgery. But Wroten was his normal self as Carter-Williams' backup during his first two games back. Wroten had 12 points against the Nets on Friday and 17 against the Grizzlies on Saturday.
However, Wroten was on the bench with the game on the line against Memphis even though he made 7 of 11 shots.
Sixers coach Brett Brown was asked if Wroten's three-shot effort Monday was a conscious effort.
"I didn't think so," he said. "There's nothing sinister or clandestine about that. . . . That is a strange number for that many minutes. I think some of it is him trying to figure it all out."
"There will be times in the not-too-distant future . . . where he plays [more and more] with Michael," Brown added. "But when he's all by himself and he's Michael's backup . . . we should play through him and let his talent attacking the rim and speed sort of be our compass."