T.J. Warren is projected as a mid-first-round pick, because he’s a relatively polished player for his age.
The problem is his main skill – creating and making 2-pointers away from the rim – is not highly regarded in the NBA. Increasingly, the league is moving toward layups, dunks and 3-pointers due to their efficiency.
At North Carolina State, Warren was one of the rare players crafty enough in the mid-range to work from that area efficiently. It’s not clear whether those same moves will work against more athletic and longer NBA players.
If they don’t, what’s left? Warren doesn’t bring much to the table besides scoring, and his age (he turns 21 before next season) and athleticism leave limited belief he’ll improve his all-around game.
But the Suns apparently like what they see.
T.J. Warren, North Carolina State, SF, 6-8, 220, So. – He surprisingly got invited to the green room, and a source said Phoenix gave him a promise.
The Suns have three first-round picks – Nos. 14, 18 and 27 – and Spears doesn’t specify which they will use on Warren, though No. 18 – where Spears has Warren going in his latest mock draft – makes most sense. No. 14 would be too high for Phoenix and No. 27 too low for Warren to shut down workouts.
Warren doesn’t seem like a typical Ryan McDonough draft pick, but we really have only one year to judge the Suns general manager. Last year, he used both Phoenix’s first rounders on rawer, high-upside players – Alex Len and Archie Goodwin. As much as we think McDonough has a type – and the Zach Lavine rumors certainly feed into it – it’s far too early to judge.
Perhaps, Phoenix would be an ideal landing spot for Warren. Jeff Hornacek is an excellent shooting coach, and maybe he could expand Warren’s range beyond the 3-point arc.
If that’s the appeal, I can see it. Hornacek’s blessing would be meaningful. Otherwise, No. 18 seems too high for Warren.