Instead of Counting the Days, I'm Making Them Count

T.J. Warren was having the best season of his six in the NBA, all things considered, when the schedule was called to a halt. He was the Pacers' leading scorer (18.7) and shooting a career-high 53 percent from the field. Over the last 12 games, following a three-game absence due to a concussion, he had averaged 21.1 points on 58 percent shooting. Less conspicuous in the box scores, he had become a standout defender after arriving from Phoenix last summer with a reputation as a poor defender. But while he was greatly frustrated by the postponement, he's learning to make the best of his free time.

BY T.J. WARREN (as told to Mark Montieth)

I stayed in Indianapolis for a week after the season was shut down, and then decided to drive home to Raleigh to ride out the postponement. It's my hometown, I have family and friends there, and I own a home as well, so it only made sense.

I'm working out at home with weights in my garage. I try to get creative and come up with different things to do, but I'm just trying to maintain my strength so I'm ready when the season starts up again. I have a gym I can go to as well, where I can get shots up. It's a private gym, but I know somebody who had a key and I go in there by myself and work on things.

I try to do something every single day, even if it's just working out or lifting or shooting. I'm not doing the same thing every day, but I'm definitely doing something every day.

The first couple of weeks after I got back here it was boring, but I'm trying to take advantage of the time. I'm not trying to count the days any more, I'm trying to make them count. I'm trying to mix up my routine to keep from getting bored. I feel like the days are going by so fast. I've been riding my bike around town or going for a walk. There's a little trail in our Greenway System that's pretty dope. I don't plan anything out, I'm just living on the fly and trying to stay busy.

I can't sit around and be upset, so I'm trying to take advantage of it. At the end of the day I'm healthy, the family is good, I'm just trying to be grateful for that and basketball will come back around. This won't last forever.

People often say they don't have a lot of time to do this or do that or do something for somebody or for themselves. It's no excuses now. You have all the time in the world to write goals down, to manifest them, to make them a reality. I feel like everybody should have some type of plan to do something beneficial for their life moving forward. I feel like this is the perfect time to have a blueprint for that.

I've really wanted to help the people in the medical professions, so I arranged to buy 700 pizzas for the health care workers at Ascension St. Vincent hospitals in Indianapolis. I know they've been working hard with everything going on. I just wanted to give back and provide lunch for them. I'm glad they appreciated it and I appreciate them. They're away from their families and they're putting their lives on the line for the community.

I'm also working on some things here, talking with people at N.C. State. They're providing masks every day, and I want to help with that.

I see my family about every other day. They check in to make sure I'm good, or I go over there to check in with them. But I try to stay home as much as possible. I'm not riding around trying to see everybody, because of the circumstances.

I've been by to see David West a couple of times a week, too. We just talk about everything that's going on. Just life. It's good to hear his voice, especially during these times. We don't really talk about basketball, it's more about where life is headed and what we think is going to happen. He reads a lot and he's very in tune with what's going on. It's good to hear what he thinks. Nobody really knows, though. I just know things won't get back to normal right away, but hopefully we can take steps in that direction.

I've been taking more time to read. I've been reading this book one of my friends created and I'm reading a lot of articles, different types of stuff online. Just trying to keep my mind sharp and continue to educate myself. With everything going on with the pandemic, you can get lost in all the information on the internet. I try to keep my mind off it and do stuff to stimulate my mind.

I'm not really watching much TV. I'm not a big movie guy or show guy. I've been watching a lot of old NBA games — a lot of All-Star games, a lot of Kobe games, a lot of Jordan games.

I've watched some of our games, too, and clips from our games. I could see the chemistry getting better, from the start of the year to now. I saw a team that was getting hungry and getting healthy and just wanted more respect. Everybody was on the same page and everybody was believing in each other. You could tell the confidence was a lot better.

I was slowly taking steps in my play, too. I was getting more comfortable from October to early March. But from watching our games I could see that I need to make sure my presence is felt out there at both ends. Just communicating, being more vocal. My teammates were helping with that and I want to get better at that. We were headed in the right direction with it.

We had a good thing going when the season was called off. We were a top-five team in the East, tied with Philly, and we were just about to play Philly on the road so that was our chance to make a statement. We had a lot of goals we wanted to accomplish. Coming back, we want to make it happen in the playoffs. I know everybody is ready to get back and I know everybody is working, so it's going to be good when we get back.