Phoenix Suns fans: Chill about TJ Warren

Phoenix Suns, TJ Warren (Photo by Kim Klement - Pool/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns, TJ Warren (Photo by Kim Klement - Pool/Getty Images) /

Phoenix Suns fans have a knack for former player envy, however, they should relax a bit when it comes to TJ Warren and his 53 point game.

TJ Warren, in his first season with the Indiana Pacers after the Phoenix Suns traded him for cash, went off for a career-high 53 points on Saturday night against the Philadelphia 76ers, and it reincited some sellers’ remorse amongst the fanbase.

When I sat down to wrestle the pros and cons of this sentiment, I realized this exact same thing happened before with TJ Warren when he scored 30 points for the Pacers.

In a preseason game.

Remember that? The Pacers played the Kings in India for a preseason game and Warren came out strong with 30 points causing Suns fans to shake their collective fists in the air, acting as if they ran into their ex who was suddenly 10 pounds lighter and had a makeover.

Fast forward through 10 months, a global pandemic, and a bubble created around Walt Disney World, and we find ourselves in the same place with a big game from TJ Warren and many Suns fans looking around at each other silently.

The good news is that the ratio of fans who don’t miss him compared to the ones who still wish he were on the team is nearly 2:1, at least, according to the very scientific Twitter poll we conducted.

The Phoenix Suns are just fine without TJ Warren.

So, for the 35 percent of you out there who kinda wish TJ was still on the Suns, let me offer a few pleas to chill.

First, one huge game does not make a player. If so, then all nine teams Tony Delk played for in his 10-year career should wish he was still on their team because he put up 50 points for the Phoenix Suns once.

This season, TJ Warren is averaging 19.2 points, which tracks right around his numbers the last two years with the Suns (18 points per game last season, and 19.6 the season prior). He had a good game, but let’s not act like this makes him the next James Harden all of a sudden.

Do you know what other stat has remained consistent? His assists, or should I say, lack thereof. Warren is averaging just 1.5 assists per game, and that is the most in his career. He continues to be a black hole on the court, and that mentality simply would not have meshed with Monty Williams’ system that led to the Suns leading the league in assists.

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Then there is the argument that, while the Suns may be better off without Warren, they should have least gotten something out of the deal other than cash considerations and forfeiting a 2nd round pick.

This is an understandable mindset and definitely feeds into the reputation Sarver has of being cheap. However, just because the Suns didn’t receive a player or draft pick directly in return, does not mean they let him walk for nothing.

Warren makes a little over $10 million this season, so by clearing that cap space, the Suns were able to sign both Kelly Oubre and Ricky Rubio. If they were to have kept Warren, they would have only had room to sign of one of those guys.

Call me overly optimistic, but I’ll take that tradeoff, even if it wasn’t an explicit trade. That being said, including a second-round pick in the Indiana deal was laughably ridiculous and should have never been on the table. That moves deserves all the scorn.

In the end, moving Warren was the best move for everyone involved. Fans will drive themselves crazy if they look at every big game from a player who could have been on the Suns and envy that he is not. For example, just because Luka Doncic had a triple-double…ok, nevermind.

Let’s just chill about TJ Warren.

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