Warrick tries to regain early-career footing with Hornets

By Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer

After being picked in the first round of the 2005 NBA Draft, Hakim Warrick spent the first four seasons of his NBA career filling a significant role, as a key reserve and occasional starter for the Memphis Grizzlies. Unfortunately for the 6-foot-9 forward, he’s spent the past three years trying to get back to that point.

Warrick has essentially experienced two separate existences as a pro. During his four-year stint with Memphis, he was one of the league’s better backups, including producing several quality performances in divisional matchups vs. New Orleans. Since the summer of 2009, however, Warrick has played for three different NBA teams – Milwaukee, Chicago and Phoenix – while being shuffled in and out of the rotation.

“The last couple years, it’s been a lot of different things, ups and downs, not knowing what was going to happen (in terms of his role),” remembered the 30-year-old Warrick, who was traded by Phoenix to New Orleans in July. “That’s one of the toughest things, especially coming off the bench, not knowing when you’re going to play.”

Like Hornets teammates Anthony Davis and Darius Miller, Warrick won an NCAA title in New Orleans, joining forces with Carmelo Anthony in 2003 to lead Syracuse University to its first national championship. The talented offensive threat averaged double-digit scoring for the Grizzlies in three consecutive seasons, topped by registering 12.7 points per game in 2006-07. Of his 94 career NBA starts, 82 were with Memphis.

Warrick is optimistic being traded to the Hornets will serve as a chance to regain the more prominent role he filled as a member of the Grizzlies. “I definitely think it’s a great opportunity,” said Warrick, who could earn minutes at both forward positions. “I’ve been in a lot of different situations (since 2009), and there have been a lot of changes on those teams. I think this is a great chance to be able to get consistent minutes. I think I’ve shown that when I’ve gotten consistent playing time, I’ve been able to produce.

“I always try to stay ready to the best of my ability and be ready to come out and perform when my number is called. But having confidence and consistency are two things that help you perform. That’s when I know I can play at my best.”