With news that the Pelicans are looking to trade into the NBA Draft to grab a small forward or center plenty of questions have been raised about the plan of the front office. Out of all of them though the most important seems to be which player, or players, have caught the eye of the front office enough to cause them to try to work themselves back into a pick. Instead of trying to guess exactly the player, Pelican Debrief has decided to just break down 18 small forwards and centers leading up to draft day (two reports will be posted daily) so that Pelicans fans will be ready no matter where or when the team trades into the draft and selects a player.
Scorers come in all shapes and sizes in the NBA. From Steph Curry to LeBron James there are plenty of different players and their styles that can produce points. Trying to find that next great scorer to add to a team is always a tough thing. For every Jamal Crawford that a team has coming off the bench there is a Jordan Crawford type super inefficient and not very good. Thanks to their need for scoring some NBA team is going to take NC State’s TJ Warren in this year’s NBA Draft.
College: N.C. State
Weight: 220 lbs
Standing Reach: 8’8”
Max Vertical: 35.5
Stats: 35 games, 35.4 mpg, 24.9 ppg, 52.5 FG%, 26.7 3 PT%, 69 FT%, 7.1 rpg, 1.1 apg, 1.8 spg, 0.6 bpg
Draft Projections: Mid-to-late first round
Warren can flat-out score, and most importantly for NBA teams he does it without using a ton of isolations. Warren got most of his points last season in transition where he utilizes his footwork, instincts and soft touch to finish those transition opportunities. In the halfcourt Warren scores a bunch of his points in the mid-range. Warren played a lot of minutes this year for NC State as a power forward so used that to his advantage and faced up to score. His floater game is advanced as Warren has a lot of different releases to utilize allowing him to hit an abnormal amount of those difficult shots. With his lacking athleticism that floater will be incredibly important for Warren going forward.
Warren’s other strength is his general basketball instincts. He picked up a fair share of steals at the top of the NC State press this season and was also pretty good on the offensive glass. Instincts translate and for Warren with his question marks due to athleticism and range that is important as it gives him something to use to put himself in positions to score.
This is where all the questions about Warren come from because he has two big issues that make the transition to the NBA worrisome.
First and for Warren most importantly is the rang on his jumper. Warren shot just 26.7 percent from three as a college player last year so there is a big question mark about whether or not he will be able to transition to the NBA with a deeper three-point line. There are perimeter players who don’t shoot threes well that have been successful in the NBA but that list is small and typically filled with all-time greats like Dwyane Wade. As the Pelicans learned last year with Al-Farouq Aminu having a three without any range is tough for an offense and Warren doesn’t really make up for it in other areas. The biggest worry about the range and Warren is that his jumper looks broken and isn’t always consistent. The hope is that since Warren is such an elite scorer from other areas of the floor and so good from mid-range that he can figure it out, but that remains to be seen.
The other worry with Warren is his athleticism. He isn’t a player that is going to win footraces, jump out of the gym or explode quickly off the floor but so far he has gotten around it to be successful. In a world where almost everyone is supremely athletic can he survive? He struggled on the defensive glass last season for NC State so there are signs that it hurts him on the floor but again so far he has figured out ways to get around the lack of athleticism to be a productive scorer.
Projected Role: At best Warren develops into an above average to elite scorer to help the team he joins, potentially even as a sixth man. At worst he flames out thanks to cramping teams spacing and the inability to score due to his lack of athleticism.
Stats and measurements for this report were found at DraftExpress. For more on Warren and his DX scouting report video go here.
Tags: New Orleans Pelicans