T.J. Warren is the Michael Jordan of the bubble
T.J. Warren has been a certifiable bucket-getter his entire life.
As a sophomore at NC State, Warren led the ACC in both scoring (24.9 points per game) and field goal percentage (52.4 percent) to take home conference player of the year honors over eventual No. 2 overall draft pick Jabari Parker. What made Warren so fascinating to watch in those days wasn’t just how much he scored, it was how he did it. Warren stockpiled points on a barrage of floaters and runners, leaning layups, and mid-range pull-ups. It seemed like he scored on everything but three-pointers.
The Phoenix Suns would tab Warren with the final pick in the 2014 lottery, where he established himself as a misfit scorer who didn’t coalesce with the league’s larger trends. Namely: Warren still wouldn’t shoot threes, even with the league’s long distance revolution in full swing. He failed to even attempt 100 three-pointers in a season through his first four years, despite averaging nearly 20 points per game in 2017-18.
Eventually, the Suns started another rebuild and Warren felt like a holdover from previous era. Last offseason, Phoenix essentially gave him away in a cash dump, trading him to Indiana just to get his contract off the books before free agency.
Warren is now playing the first meaningful basketball of his career on the Indiana Pacers, starting every game for a team that’s currently No. 5 in the Eastern Conference. With his playoff debut just around the corner, the ...
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