Hakim Warrick: A breakdown of the soon-to-be newest member of the Phoenix Suns


Hakim Warrick is no Amare Stoudemire, but he does bring some nice things to the table for Phoenix.

When the Phoenix Suns agreed to terms with forward Hakim Warrick Friday, the spotlight shined brightly on Amare Stoudemire, as the agreement meant that his eight-year run as a Sun was over.

Now that the departure of Stoudemire is imminent, the focus shifts to his replacement. So what can Suns fans expect from the 6-foot-9 Warrick?

Everyone and their mother knows that the former Syracuse standout isn’t Amare Stoudemire, but he is an athletic forward who’s made a solid career for himself in Memphis, Milwaukee and Chicago.

Warrick was drafted 19th overall by the Grizzlies in 2005 and started 82 games in four seasons in Memphis. He’s put together a decent NBA career thus far, averaging 10-plus points in four of his five NBA seasons.

But stats don’t exactly tell you the type of player Warrick is, so I took a closer look at his 2009-10 campaign with the Bucks via Synergy Sports Technology to establish his strengths, weaknesses, and how he should fit in with Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns.

After being dealt before the deadline Warrick played 28 games with the Bulls, but didn’t have as big of a role in Chicago as he did in Milwaukee, so the stats and analysis below are based on his 48 games with the Bucks.

Strengths

Warrick’s biggest positive is undoubtedly his athleticism. Although it’s unfair to compare him to Amare, this may be the one area where it’s warranted. Warrick is an unbelievable leaper — with a 38-inch vertical — and an even more ferocious dunker.

Ever since his days as an Orangeman he’s been a guy you fear coming down the lane off a pick and roll because of his freakish athleticism. He boasts a 7-foot-2 wingspan to go along with his hops and is terrific in transition.

Because he’s far more athletic than most power forwards, he beats his man down the floor more often than not, and has the agility to finish in transition — where he scored 1.21 points per play and shot 70 percent with the Bucks last season.

But Warrick isn’t only a physical specimen, he has some skills to go along with it, most notably his jump shot. Again, it’s unfair to compare him to Stoudemire, but like Amare, his range reaches just inside the three-point line and he is quite accurate from 16-23 feet.

In fact, according to Hoopdata.com he shot 40 percent on shots from 16-23 feet during his 48 games with the Bucks last season, which isn’t bad for a power forward. And that solid jump shot translates to where Warrick excels most — the pick and roll.

Because of his shooting range, he is a great pick-and-pop player. But with his athleticism he is also dangerous streaking down the middle of the lane, making him a above average pick-and-roll player. With the Bucks last season he shot 54 percent out of the pick and roll, resulting in 1.14 points per play.

So expect Warrick to bring athleticism, highlight-reel dunks, mid-range shooting and solid pick-and-roll play to Phoenix next season.

Weaknesses

At 219 pounds, Warrick is what the basketball world calls a tweener. He isn’t your prototypical power forward, but doesn’t have the skill set to be an NBA small forward.

One of the main reasons he struggles at power forward is because of his porous rebounding. Although he’s a fantastic leaper, he doesn’t have the bulk and technique to man the boards, and it’s shown throughout his career, as he’s never averaged more than 5.1 rebounds per game.

With big men there is usually a correlation between rebounding and defense, and this certainly holds true for Warrick (as it did for STAT). While he is a solid perimeter defender who can even try his hand at small forwards every now and again, he struggles mightily to defend in the post.

In 51 post-up situations with the Bucks, Warrick allowed the opponent to score 58.8 percent of the time. Because of his slender body type he lets the opposition get way too deep, which, at 6-foot-9, doesn’t give him any chance. With Robin Lopez in the middle he won’t have to defend the opposition’s best big man, but with so many twin towers in the West he will be a liability at times.

And you would think that with his athleticism and wingspan, Warrick would be a good help defender. But he isn’t the shot-blocker you would expect (despite this block in college), as he collected only 18 blocks last season and has never averaged more than 0.5 blocks per game in his career.

He does defend the perimeter well, however, holding opponents to 28.1 percent shooting and 0.63 points per play on isolations. He also does a good job using his quickness and length to get out to spot-up shooters, as he held the opposition to 38.5 percent shooting in spot-up situations.

He is pesky on the perimeter and has solid lateral quickness, as well as a good understanding of where to be on the floor after playing in Jim Boeheim’s zone scheme at Syracuse. But all in all, Warrick is a terrible post defender, a mediocre rebounder and could quickly earn the “soft” label in Phoenix.

He also lacks a complete offensive game. He has zero post moves, other than a face-up or turnaround jump shot, and can’t create off the dribble. Warrick does have nice quickness for a big man, but he certainly isn’t the type of guy you’re going to dump it down to and watch go to work.

Like Amare, expect to be frustrated at times with Warrick’s lack of rebounding and defense.

How will he fare in Phoenix?

Despite Warrick’s sub-par defense and rebounding, and his lack of a polished post game, he should thrive in Phoenix playing with Nash. Everything he’s good at is usually extremely valuable in Phoenix — jump shooting, playing up-tempo and pick-and-roll prowess.

The Suns obviously love to space the floor, and Warrick can help do that with his mid-range shooting. But when the floor is spaced he should have success diving or rolling to the hoop for ferocious slams, especially with Channing Frye lurking around the three-point line.

He and Nash should quickly develop a nice chemistry in the pick-and-roll game, and he should thrive getting out on the break and finishing in transition. His lack of defense and rebounding is cause for concern, but Lopez, the Suns’ second-round picks and maybe even a free-agent big man should help fill in the cracks there.

Players usually post career highs in purple and orange, and Hakim Warrick should be no exception.

Projected stat line: 15.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 49.1 FG% in 29.5 minutes

Synergy offensive statistics (48 games with MIL)

Play type
% used
Points per play
FG%
Isolation15.4%0.8641.5%
Post-up18.3%0.8138.6%
Pick-and-roll (man)11.4%1.1454%
Spot up13.7%0.6332.3%
Cut14.9%1.1662.7%
Offensive rebound9.3%1.2769.4%
Transition 9.1%1.2170%
Synergy defensive statistics (48 games with MIL)
Play type
% used
Points per play
FG%
Isolation16.3%0.6328.1%
Pick-and-roll (man)12.3%1.0348%
Post-up20.2%1.1457.5%
Spot up38.5%0.835.6%

UPDATE: NBA Playbook on Warrick and Amare

Sebastian Pruiti of the TrueHoop blog NBA Playbook continues this conversation by comparing Amare and Warrick using video.

Tags: Amar'e Stoudemire Hakim Warrick

  • Justin

    I am excited to see what he can provide uswith. he seems like a hard worker and a chemistry guy so I don't think this whole amare leaving thing will be so bad. Plus with Earl playing alot more minutes and maybe even lawall backing up hakim this could be pretty good

  • Bob

    I absolutely assure that Warrick will have a career high in nearly every stat next season.

  • chris willett

    im excited!!!

    i watched his highlights and now i cant wait to see him dunk w/ steve nash's dimes.

  • S

    I hope he's got good hands!

  • Mike L

    Good stuff here. Related to this and the last article I'd really love to see a follow-up sometime this offseason that attempts to answer the question of who our go-to guy will be without Amare here.

    Like most Suns fans, I think the Suns were wise in not giving him the max and not just because of his health. We rarely RARELY saw him take over a series, or even a critical regular season game. I know there are only a couple of Kobe's and Lebron's, but to me if you're going to tie up that much money for that long you have to be willing to concede that you are seeing that person as THE guy either to win key regular season games or who will take you to the championship. In Amare's case, I think that means you concede that you WON'T win a championship, but that you're satisfied with just going deep into the playoffs with him around. That's not necessarily a horrible thing, but why shoot for anything less than the championship, right?

    Amare could have assured himself of a Suns max contract if he had willed them to a victory over the Lakers in the WC Finals. He didn't do it because … HE'S NOT A MAX PLAYER. (In my opinion.) The ONLY guy we have who has consistently done that is Nash. Period. If we want to give a guy max money it needs to be someone who has demonstrated what we know we can get from Nash.

    That said, and even with your articles on PER and how good the Suns were with Amare on the bench, there is now the issue of who the Suns will be going through on their plays. With Amare on the floor you either went through him, or the other team was at least very careful of the other 4 guys who were on the floor with Amare. You can argue that he was so good that they played off the other 4 enough to give them an opening to slash to the hoop or take a jumper that goes in just when you need it.

    Like most Suns fans, I've always been mystified as to why we were so good, and usually better, when Amare went to the bench. I think the reason we made it this far is because Amare IS a great player and he had a great, great year so when he came out of the game and the other team thought they'd make a run, we just took it to a whole other level.

    Now that Amare is gone, I think the KEY question is who the ball is going to go through. Are you fine with Nash being double-teamed night in, night out? Is Grant Hill suddenly the HOF guy he could have been without the injuries? Is it J-Rich who you go through? Or is it one of our new plethora of good-but-not-great big guys?

    Either way, I now firmly believe that the only way the Suns make the playoffs (not advance, just make them) is if one of our unknown guys suddenly becomes a monster who is able to consistently be counted on in crunchtime games. Either we have a hidden monster, or we swing a killer trade for Nowitzki or 'Melo, or we do so badly we fall deep into lottery territory and take a monster in next year's draft.

    Think of it like the way the Cardinals handled letting Smith go to the Texans. They knew Calais Campbell was ready for that promotion and he clearly was. I'm not seeing someone on the Suns roster who has shown us that they are ready to get to that next level role which will soon be vacated by Amare's departure.

  • hm

    back to seven seconds or less?

  • Artur Mascarenhas

    Forget everything you know about him. He’ll have completely different numbers, as everybody that came to Phoenix and played with Steve.

    Numbers from Frye and Dudley before Suns were just plain sad, now they are valuable players. Same thing apply for Warrick.

  • Auggie

    I'm disappointed that he is basically a poor man's Stat. Why couldn't they pick up a rebounder/defender?

  • Ray

    @ Auggie Man I ask myself the same question every year I watch this team. Would it kill our system to add at least one defensive specialist and a guy who could rebound? (Or both in the same player)

  • Ryan

    I'm not saying it's a bad signing but it sure isn't a good one. Amare leaves and we panic and sign this guy on the first day of free agency? It makes we wonder, did we have a plan B at all? I mean…..I know I as well as any Sun fan with half a brain saw this coming as far back as THREE YEARS AGO. How about taking a look at Luis Scola or David Lee? I know people don't wanna tie up money in them to be "players" in next years free agent class but we could still be with a HUGE expiring contract in Richardson and with Barbosa seemingly being closer and closer to being traded and who the hell knows what will happen next year with the lockout looming. We were one Ron Artest put back and few missed three throws away from being in the Championship this past year and now we're just waving the white flag. It's not like I'm suprised though at all…I'm a Phoenix Suns fan for godsakes, we ALWAYS expect the worst. I'm 21 so I've only seen two great Sun Dynasties wasted….I wonder how many more I'll get to see on my time left on Earth.

  • Mike Meez

    It will be interesting to see if they go back to a heavier emphasis on the fastbreak with Warrick in and Amar’e gone. Amar’e’s one-on-one post game came a long way and the Suns really relied on it for a good chunk of plays this last season. If Warrick can’t do that, I don’t know who else would. I’d love to see RoLo step into the low post role on the offensive end but I’m not sure he’s got the skill or experience to pull it off yet.

  • Pingback: Goodbye, Amare Stoudemire| Valley of the Suns

  • Anon

    PUH-LEEZE! Warrick is an overmatched 3 playing out of position at 4. He doesn't rebound as well as Stoudemire and he isn't even as good a defender and of course on offense he's so much worse than Stoudemire it's not even funny. Listen to yourself – he's a good shooter because he shoots 40% from mid-range? He averages 1.21 pps in transition? STAT had his worst year in awhile last year on the mid-range shot and was still better than that and STAT averaged 1.50 pps for ALL his shots, not just his high percentage ones.

    Warrick couldn't crack the 08-09 Grizzlies starting lineup ahead of Darrell Arthur. He lost his starting job last year in Milwaukee to Ersan Ilyasova and was traded to Chicago solely for his expiring contract where he couldn't beat out Taj Gibson & James Johnson for a starting job on a team scrapping for a playoff spot. That guy's going to replace STAT? Seriously?

    Anyone who thinks he is going to miraculously become a decent player just because he's playing with Nash is just plain delusional. I have to assume Sarver is planning to tank this season and maybe next (in which case further trades/salary dumps will be coming) when the Suns will have some cap space because if the plan is to drop Warrick in and try to compete, good luck. The Suns are a 45 win team AT BEST with Warrick in place of STAT and probably more like a 40 win team.

    Heck I'd rather have Amundson instead of Warrick.

    Oh, one other note – everyone realizes Warrick is actually OLDER than Stoudemire, right? The Suns didn't want to give 5 years to STAT but gladly gave a 4 year deal to guy who is 4 months older and half the player.

  • Jeff

    This optimism for Warrick is really homerism or just pure hope at its best. Warrick is a below average power forward in the NBA, at best the guy is a 7 or 8 off the bench for two reasons 1) He is too small to play post defense 2) Earl Clark is going to eat into his minutes.

    He’ll put up 11.8 ppg. and 4.9 rpg at 22 mins pg. He’ll start the season and quickly be relegated to where he belongs, coming off the bench.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/lance1229 Leminio

    Hakim Warrick 2009-2010 Season Top 10 in Chicago Bulls

  • Pingback: Spurs front office fiscally sound | 48 Minutes of Hell

  • Pingback: Who's the roll man for the Phoenix Suns next season? | Valley of the Suns

  • Pingback: Phoenix Suns offseason to-do list: Big men | Valley of the Suns

  • Pingback: Phoenix Suns win first preseason game by defeating the Mavericks | Valley of the Suns