Editor’s Note: As we get closer to the draft, it’s time to talk about possible draft picks for the Hornets. Over the next month, we will preview guys that could end up going to the Hornets at either picks number 9, 24, or 45, culminating in two mock drafts. Also during this time span, we will preview other options the Hornets have such as trading picks or available free-agents. Stick with us for original analysis and predictions all summer long!
Player Essentials: T.J. Warren
Strengths: Overall, T.J. Warren is an exceptional scorer, averaging nearly 25 points a game last year at NC State despite being a very unconventional offensive player. And by unconventional I mean that Warren doesn’t utilize much of a post-up game or have the ability to consistently make from beyond the arc. Yet, when he’s on the top of his game, Warren can fill the score sheet like few others can with great instincts in transition, the ability to attack the basket, and an exceptional floater.
The NC State product also can hit from three, but his outside shooting is very streaky, hitting only 27% of his attempts in that department his sophomore year. Nevertheless, his shot is good enough that defenses will have to respect it in the NBA, which is all a scorer like Warren really needs to be successful at the next level.
In addition to his scoring instincts, Warren is a solid rebounder, grabbing an average of 7.1 boards a contest last year with the Wolfpack. More impressively, nearly half of Warren’s rebounds a season ago came on the offensive end.
One of the main knocks on T.J. Warren is the fact that he’s a bit of a tweener between the small and power forward positions. This is especially an issue on defense where Warren has the ideal height at 6’8” to play the three, but isn’t terribly quick and thus struggles to stay in front of guys on the perimeter. Meanwhile, Warren doesn’t have strength at just 220 pounds to be competitive on the low-block and was pushed around by opposing players when he played the position in college. Ultimentally, Warren will likely struggle defensively no matter what position he ends up playing in the NBA.
In my opinion, offensively, T.J. Warren is very comparable to Detroit swingman Josh Smith. While Warren will probably never be the player that Smith is at the NBA level, the two are similar in the sense that they both lack a dependable jump shot and aren’t great post-up players, but still manage to find ways to score the basketball consistently.
The Bottom Line
Overall, despite the fact that T.J. Warren will have some defensive troubles in the NBA, he’s a fantastic scorer who will be able to instantly help his team off of the bench at the next level. While it could be quite a stretch that Warren falls to the Hornets at 24 based off of recent mock drafts, if he is still on the board for Charlotte, Rich Cho and company should certainly pull the trigger on the swingman to add some additional frontcourt help on next year’s team.
Lead Hornets Writer: Jonathon Hoppe