When the Phoenix Suns spent the first of their three first-round picks in the 2014 NBA Draft on T.J. Warren, the belief was they were landing someone who could, to put it simply, put the basketball in the bucket.
The ACC Player of the Year after averaging 24.9 points per game for North Carolina State, he was known as someone who was a relentless scorer who found a way to pile up the points without much of a three-point shot.
Through four of games in the Las Vegas Summer League, all of that has held true, as Warren is averaging 20 points per contest on 59.6 percent shooting. He’s eclipsed the 20-point plateau in three of the four games, with him coming up short in a game where he tallied four points before exiting after just seven minutes.
People have taken notice of his performance, and in Kevin Pelton’s ESPN Insider (paid subscription) piece about the best and worst from Vegas, the Suns’ rookie placed second on the good list.
Warren has been relentless in getting buckets in the summer league, topping 20 points in all three games he’s played more than seven minutes. Warren has done so in efficient fashion, shooting a cool 59.6 percent from the field. As in college, Warren hasn’t relied on 3s (he’s yet to make one) and rarely has gotten to the free throw line (4.0 attempts per game). Instead, he’s found transition and putback opportunities to go with midrange jumpers.
Along with the scoring, Warren is averaging 4.9 rebounds per game. He’s posting all these numbers in just 23 minutes per game, showing off an efficiency that would be very beneficial to the Suns.
Of course, Summer League is not exactly filled with great NBA talent, meaning anything that happens — good or bad — should be taken with a few grains of salt.
However, that doesn’t mean Warren’s performance isn’t worth getting excited about, because so far he appears to be everything he was advertised as.