The Phoenix Suns are riding the crest of a wave at the moment, and have dispensed any alarm bells that may have existed around the franchise to begin the season. They've won seven straight games, and are through to the last eight of the inaugural in-season tournament that the NBA has created.
About the only problem the organization is facing right now is injury, with Bradley Beal having only played three games - none of which have come alongside Devin Booker - and Kevin Durant missing for the last two contests. The Suns might keep winning behind Booker's MVP level play, but it would be great if they could get fully healthy, and soon
Any help the franchise can get throughout the course of a long regular season would be great, and one former player could be the ideal offensive punch off the bench.
That player would be T.J. Warren, somebody who has suited up 277 times for the Suns in the regular season in the past. Still somehow only 30-years-old, Warren last played for the Suns last season, appearing in 16 games before washing out of the league. Warren recently said that he is fully healthy and looking to stick with a team, and the Suns could do worse than give him another look.
Warren came over in the Durant blockbuster trade from the Brooklyn Nets last season, but he was only given about 12 minutes per night to prove he could contribute on that roster. In the postseason he did appear in six games, and even upped his minutes to just over 13 per game when called upon. That was then, but the roster has been overhauled, and Warren could help.
It is not that long ago that Warren was one of the standout players of the NBA's Bubble while with the Indiana Pacers. That player is likely never coming back both because of the injuries he has sustained, and the lack of opportunities to take over and be the guy on a team, especially one with championship aspirations like the Suns.
But he spent five whole seasons with the organization before heading to Indiana, and then Brooklyn, before making his way back last season. Warren represents a link back to the awful recent past that this team has ensured, but he could thrive in a new role as the ninth or tenth man on this roster. An alternative to Keita Bates-Diop or Yuta Watanabe, depending on the matchup.
At this stage, there is little doubt that after the Suns' "Big 3" plus Jusuf Nurkic, that the next four players to get minutes are Grayson Allen, Eric Gordon, Drew Eubanks and Jordan Goodwin. Nassir Little has also done enough throughout the win streak to warrant some consideration in there as well.
But it is hard to see where Bol Bol and even Chimezie Metu are going to get minutes if they weren't able to already this season, and that has been with Beal, Durant and Booker all missing various amounts of time. At least with Warren, they'd get a veteran who is comfortable initiating the offense from time-to-time, and is able to score in some different ways.
In three of his first six seasons in the league, Warren shot over 40 percent from deep. He's never averaged 20 points in a season - although he has come close a couple of times - but the days of putting up 12 points and dishing out three assists in a cameo role are still very much on the table. If anything, what Warren can do would work well with what the Suns might need in the coming weeks.
They have been lucky with role players not suffering injuries to this point, and Watanabe hasn't totally panned out either. That is without even considering the aforementioned Bol and Metu - two centers who are well behind Nurkic, Eubanks and even Durant in the pecking order - who are really going to struggle to see the court. If the Suns decide to hit the bargain bin, Warren should be on their radar.