T.J. Warren 2019-20 Season Highlights

Check out some of the top plays from T.J. Warren's 2019-20 season.

T.J. Warren 2020 Player Review

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T.J. Warren 2019-20 Season Highlights

Check out some of the top plays from T.J. Warren's 2019-20 season.
Sep 5, 2020  |  00:59

Player Review 2020: T.J. Warren

Age: 27
Years Pro: 6
Status: Under contract for two more seasons.
Key Stats: Averaged a team-high 19.8 points per game on 53.6 percent shooting, both career highs. Ranked third on the team in 3-point percentage (40.3 percent) behind Doug McDermott and Justin Holiday.

The Pacers knew when they acquired T.J. Warren from the Suns for cash that they would be getting a solid player. However, they didn't know that he'd become one of the top players on the team. Soon enough, Suns fans began feeling like they were fleeced.

Reliability questions by the Suns arose after Warren suffered an ankle injury in 2018 that limited him to just 43 games, pointing the team towards the decision of trading him away. The Pacers took a chance on the former N.C. State forward that had been averaging double digits, figuring his talents for mere cash considerations was worth the shot.

It turned out to be one of the Blue & Gold's best moves of the 2018-2019 offseason.

Combined with an increase in scoring output, assistant coaches Dan Burke, Popeye Jones, and Bill Bayno found a way to unlock the defensive and 3-point side of Warren that turned him into a dominant forward the Blue & Gold needed after losing Bojan Bogdanovic over the offseason. Missing just six games in the shortened 73-game season, Warren started in all his appearances and played for over 40 minutes four times this season.

PHOTO GALLERY: T.J. Warren's 2019-20 Season in Photos »

Warren's ability to create a mid-range shot from thin air allowed him to control play more than he had previously done in Phoenix. The more difficult the shot appeared, the seemingly easier he sank it. His 53.6 percent field goal percentage was the third-highest for the Blue & Gold this season, falling just behind Domantas Sabonis and JaKarr Sampson, who both play much closer to the rim. In Sampson's case, most of his field goals were highlight slams.

Despite missing three games in February, Warren shot a blistering 60.6 percent from the floor. His most notable game in that month came on Feb. 12 in a victory against the Milwaukee Bucks, when he finished with 35 points on 16-of-19 shooting. His 84.2 percent field goal percentage is the highest mark in Pacers NBA franchise history among players who have made at least 16 shots in a game.

This year, his game stretched beyond the arc as well, becoming one of the more reliable sharpshooters off the pass. Of his 98 made 3-pointers this season, 88 came off assists. He had the knack for finding the open spot on the floor once the Blue & Gold forced opposing defenses to collapse into the paint.

But after the unexpected halt in the season due to the emergence of COVID-19, Warren kicked his play into sixth gear when play resumed in August.

T.J. Warren

Photo Credit: NBAE/Getty Images

In the Pacers' first regular-season game in the Orlando bubble, Warren erupted for a career-high 53 points on 20-of-29 shooting, including 9-of-12 from deep. The one-man wrecking crew led the squad to a six-point victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.

And he didn't stop there.

Two nights later he netted another 34 points against the Washington Wizards, including 23 in the second half. Most of his damage came from inside the 3-point line, illustrating his impactful versatility. Just 24 hours later, he dropped another 32 against the Orlando Magic. He then racked up 39 on Aug. 8 against the Los Angeles Lakers — including seven straight points in the final 1:25 to seal the win. The run of points soon put him into the proverbial "Bubble MVP" talk on several sports news outlets.

Warren's strong play in Orlando was rewarded when he was named to the NBA's All-Seeding Games First Team after averaging 31 points and 6.3 rebounds in six regular season contests in the bubble.

With his improved performance this year, it's safe to say Warren has made himself a key component of the Pacers' starting lineup next season. It will be interesting to see if Indiana's new head coach wishes to run the offense through Warren even more, as he's proven he can handle the responsibilities of being a top league scorer. The inside-out game with Domantas Sabonis, one of the NBA's premier passing big men, could create nightmares for opposing teams in terms of ball movement and switches next season.

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