T.J. Warren Signs With the Brooklyn Nets
Warren has suffered through a lengthy injury recovery the past two seasons and will need to rebuild his value. He was originally drafted with the 14th pick in the first round by the Phoenix Suns. He showed his scoring chops early but little else. Warren struggled defending and passing, and shot 26.5% and 22.2% from three in 2016-17 and 2017-18, respectively. In 2018-19, Warren shockingly improved his three-point percentage to 42.8%, and averaged 4.2 attempts per game after putting up just 1.4 per game the previous season.
Phoenix decided to trade him the following offseason in an equally shocking development. Warren has now played for the Phoenix Suns and the Indiana Pacers after Indiana gave up three second-round picks to acquire him and Phoenix’s no. 32 pick in the 2019 draft. Warren has averaged 15.5 points and 4.1 rebounds per game for his career. His last healthy season was 2019-20, when he averaged 19.8 points and 4.2 rebounds.
He ended that season in the bubble, playing the best basketball of his career on both ends of the court. It’s worth revisiting Warren’s stellar play there if you don’t remember his 53-point game in Indiana’s first regular-season game there. He went on to score over 30 points in three of his next five games before the Pacers were swept by the eventual Eastern Conference champions, the Miami Heat.
What this Means for the Future
Warren is a fantastic player when healthy. Unfortunately, by the time the 2022-23 season starts, he’ll have played in only 4 regular-season games over two years. His specific injury is frightening for his future prospects as well. He’s been attempting to heal a broken navicular in his left foot since last playing in December 2020. Warren’s 6’8” frame ensures his foot will be subjected to considerable punishment for the rest of his career. Any further healing issues risk jeopardizing Warren’s remaining career, and the Nets had to weigh these factors before signing.
If healthy (expect to see that phrase next to Warren’s name a lot over the offseason), Warren is ready to contribute to a playoff team. His size and two-way abilities project well to postseason basketball; imagine a healthy Warren replacing Payton Pritchard in Boston’s rotation in the previous Finals, for example.