Phoenix Suns coach Jeff Hornacek: T.J. Warren will be a starter in NBA

Mar 31, 2015, 6:51 PM | Updated: 8:01 pm

LISTEN: Jeff Hornacek, Suns head coach

T.J. Warren was the 14th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, a prolific scorer at North Carolina State who the Phoenix Suns called an “elite” scorer soon after making him their first pick.

For much of the season, though, he either remained on the bench or in the NBA D-League.

As the Suns’ postseason hopes have slipped away, Warren has received increased playing time. He has rewarded the team, showing off the skills that convinced them to select him last June.

In 17 games since the All-Star break, the forward is averaging 7.8 points and 2.7 rebounds in 16.9 minutes per game. He’s shooting .614 from the field and looking more and more like a player who could be a big part of the team’s future.

In Sunday’s loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, he scored a career-high 18 points on just 10 field goal attempts. Monday night in Portland, he added 13 points on nine attempts.

“I think we’ve all seen him and looked at him, and said, ‘He’s going to be a starter in this league,'” Suns coach Jeff Hornacek told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Tuesday morning. “Just the way he can put the ball in the hole with ease.”

Warren averaged 24.9 points per game as a sophomore for NC State, doing most of his damage near the basket or via a mid-range game. He’s not the most explosive athlete, but has a great knack for being at the right place at the right time. Where he has to improve, the coach said, is on the defensive end of the floor.

“But last night, I thought his defensive effort was much better,” Hornacek said, citing Warren’s performance in Monday night’s loss to the Trail Blazers. “I think he has that capability.”

Still, it’s Warren’s ability to score that intrigued the Suns to begin with.

“Then you see how easy it is on the offensive end when he gets a little space,” Hornacek said. “He can make those floaters, runners; his jump shot is pretty decent, he’s just so good at doing the floaters he doesn’t really need to pull up for jump shots. That’s a good weapon to have.

“Yeah, he’ll be a starter in this league.”

Phoenix Suns

Drew Eubanks #14 of the Phoenix Suns warms up before the NBA game against the Detroit Pistons at Fo...

Damon Allred

Drew Eubanks, Anthony Edwards questionable for Suns’ regular season finale vs. Timberwolves

The Suns listed Drew Eubanks as questionable and Damion Lee as out for the team's regular season finale against the Timberwolves on Sunday.

10 hours ago

Domantas Sabonis #10 of the Sacramento Kings drives against Jusuf Nurkic #20 of the Phoenix Suns du...

David Veenstra

Phoenix Suns center Jusuf Nurkic fined for flopping against Sacramento Kings

Jusuf Nurkic was fined $2,000 for flopping for his actions against the Sacramento Kings at the Golden 1 Center on Friday night.

10 hours ago

Royce O'Neale #00 and Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns celebrate defeating the Sacramento Kings ...

David Veenstra

Here’s what’s at stake in seeding, standings, tiebreakers for Phoenix Suns, Western Conference

Here are the NBA playoff seeding implications for the Suns and the tiebreakers in the Western Conference standings.

12 hours ago

Bradley Beal #3 of the Phoenix Suns brings the ball up court against the Charlotte Hornets during t...

Kellan Olson

Bradley Beal leads big-time Suns response in ugly win vs. Kings

For as much as the last two games looked like the Suns calling it a day on the 2023-24 season, they had at least one more fight left in them.

1 day ago

Devin Booker #1 and head coach Frank Vogel of the Phoenix Suns...

Arizona Sports

NBA playoff standings: Suns can still avoid play-in with 1 game left

Where are the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference standings? They're fighting for playoff positioning and hoping to avoid the play-in.

1 day ago


Arizona Sports Video

Video: Bickley Blast: Something feels very different with Devin Booker and the Suns

On the latest Bickley Blast, Dan Bickley asks if a Devin Booker trade request is in the near future.

2 days ago

Phoenix Suns coach Jeff Hornacek: T.J. Warren will be a starter in NBA