Should T.J. Warren Start Over P.J. Tucker In 2015-16?

Apr 14, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns forward T.J. Warren (12) against the Los Angeles Clippers at US Airways Center. The Clippers beat the Suns 112-101. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 14, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns forward T.J. Warren (12) against the Los Angeles Clippers at US Airways Center. The Clippers beat the Suns 112-101. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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T.J. Warren
Feb 23, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Brandon Knight (3) prior to the game against the Boston Celtics at US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

This Summer

As currently constructed, the Suns are (at best) a first round playoff team. But none of this takes into account what could happen this summer. There are a ton of big-name free agents hitting the market this offseason, and although the Suns will most likely wind up with the No. 13 pick in this year’s draft, they do have a 0.6 percent chance at the No. 1 pick and a 2.2 percent chance at a top-three pick.

Okay, so maybe the Suns won’t pull a Chicago Bulls-getting-Derrick Rose, but they’ll have a lottery pick no matter what, they have cap space this summer and they are fully cognizant of the fact that this team still needs a superstar.

Phoenix was active in trying to add a star last summer with guys like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Love. Unfortunately, the last time the Suns added a bonafide superstar via free agency was Steve Nash in 2004, and Phoenix’s focus on re-signing Brandon Knight will most likely eat up quite a bit of that cap room.

However, if general manager Ryan McDonough is able to buck the recurring trend of the last decade by adding a star this summer, then obviously this discussion changes. The sooner the Suns are able to integrate a star with their young core, the sooner they can theoretically move toward contending.

There’s also the possibility the Suns try to package the Morris twins in a blockbuster deal, pending the results of their felony aggravated assault charges. Or, you know, because they could probably net the Suns the biggest return, even if they are found innocent.

In any event, Tucker is probably not a starting-caliber forward on a championship team. But he’s better than Warren is right now, so if the Suns change their situation this summer and move closer toward the ultimate goal of title contention, the 21-year-old Warren should continue to be patient coming off the bench.

Next: An Added Wrinkle