It’s not exactly an award that will be on T.J. Warren’s mantle, but it means something to the Phoenix Suns. Warren, the Suns’ first-round draft pick, was named to the Las Vegas Summer League second team on Sunday after averaging 17.8 points in 24.8 minutes per game.
1st Team Vegas: McDermott CHI; Motiejunas HOU; Porter, Rice WAS; Snell CHI. 2nd: Gobert UTAH; Hardaway NY; McRae PHI; Smith NO; Warren PHX.
— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 21, 2014
Wizards guard Glen Rice, Jr., was named MVP of the Vegas Summer League after averaging a league-leading 25 points and 7.8 rebounds. — Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 21, 2014
Phoenix found out how to use Warren, and that’s what this is about beyond a somewhat meaningless gold star of an honor.
It was the how that was most impressive.
Warren shot 54.4 percent from the floor while taking 13.6 shots per game. As the 13th-best scorer in Vegas this past week, only two players ahead of him even shot 50 percent or better. One was Philadelphia guard Jordan McRae, who hit 50 percent of his shots on the nose. The other was Miami Heat big man Justin Hamilton, who shot 63 percent but took 35 shots to Warren’s 68.
Consider then that Warren shot a whole 10 percent better than Chicago Bulls draft pick Doug McDermott, who averaged 0.2 points better than Warren in four more minutes per game. Consider that McRae was the only rookie that was with Warren as being even close to efficient. None of the other rookies who scored more than 15 points per game — Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins, Russ Smith, Jordan Clarkson, Zach LaVine, Gary Harris and P.J. Hairston — could do better than McDermott. Harris and Hairston, the two other rookies who averaged more points than Warren, shot an awful 32 and 33 percent, respectfully.
So either the Suns learned how to use Warren quite quickly or Warren is that efficient. Probably both, but it’s an excellent sign that one of the major reasons the Suns drafted him — efficiency over shooting ability — held very true in Sin City.