T.J. Warren: Developing from Deep

T.J. Warren Shooting
by Cody Cunningham

T.J. Warren has been one of the league’s most efficient shooters throughout his first five seasons in the NBA, but the development of his three-point shot has taken his game to another level this season. 

Since he was drafted in 2015, Warren is one of only four wings in the league to shoot over 50 percent while averaging 10 attempts per game. The other three are All-Stars Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant and LeBron James. (Basketball-Reference.com)

Warren has always been known for his strong midrange and acrobatic shots around the rim, but he is now stepping back to the three-point line and knocking it down from deep. 

“It’s a challenge we throw at T.J.,” Head Coach Igor Kokoškov said. “I think he accepts. He understands where the game goes. Three-point shooting is huge in modern basketball. He worked hard on it.” 

That hard work is paying off as Warren is shooting over double his career average from deep and the shot is falling consistently. For him, it wasn’t about confidence, but more just putting in the reps. 

“I’ve always felt good shooting,” Warren said. “Just a lot of reps and a lot of consistent reps and working on it every day… I don’t know exactly the amount, but I know it was a lot.” 

Warren has not only shot more threes but has extended his highly-efficient scoring to behind the arc. He joins Stephen Curry as the only two qualifying players in the league to be averaging 50 percent from the field, 45 percent from three and 90 percent from the free throw line. (Basketball-Reference.com) 

“It’s a testament to the work I put in,” Warren said. “I really wanted to lock-in and really focus on it. Seeing where the league is going, just wanted to challenge myself and prove to myself that if I put my mind to it, I can do it.” 

Kokoškov believes that Warren always had the ability, but he just never put it out on display.

“I think it was more a mindset,” Kokoškov said. “It’s a hidden weapon that he had. He didn’t even know… He put some hours and some work. When you’re open you take the shot. No hesitation.”

Averaging career-highs in both three-point percentage and free throw percentage, Warren has already surpassed his amount of threes made last season and is over halfway to the number of attempts. An already lethal offensive force has turned even more dangerous with this new weapon at his disposal.

“We love his game,” Kokoškov said. “When he’s aggressive and is being himself, he’s a huge help for our team. T.J.’s in a good place. He’s excited.”

With the implementation of Warren into Kokoškov’s offense, the team will continue to grow together, learn each other’s tendencies and finalize a system that identifies everyone’s strengths. 

“We’re starting to figure out where guys are more effective at,” Warren said. “The more we get used to each other the better, we play.”

Warren and the Suns will tip-off tomorrow night at Talking Stick Resort Arena as the team hosts the Oklahoma City Thunder. Be sure to catch the action on Fox Sports Arizona. 

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