TJ Warren is the biggest story in the NBA bubble and it’s not even close, but it isn’t a surprise at all. People have a tendency to overlook players once they come into the league, but Warren has been continuously improving year after year.
Before The Bubble
, but it was overlooked because he was on a Indiana team that was down its best player in Oladipo, yet they still managed to keep their heads above water to maintain a healthy spot In the playoffs. Why? Mainly due to Warren who is able to make an impact in multiple ways. The week before Covid happened, Warren had 23 against the Spurs, 18 against the Bucks, and 16 against the Mavs. 2-1 in lue of those three games with Warren leading the way.
During The Bubble
We are all paying more attention that usual to the NBA. With all the time off it’s only right for certain players to go off, and new ones to show the league that they are the real deal right? I mean it took Warren to drop 53 to put Indiana on back on the map, due to Oladipo playing average at best.
I see an Indiana team that’s been struggling to find a second offensive threat outside of Oladipo. His absence made this team lose its identity. Now, we are seeing a brand new Pacer team that could make some noise in this seasons playoff.
With a 4-1 bubble record, Warren is averaging 34.8 PPG, 6.6 RPG,2.4 APG making his season numbers 19.9 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 1.5 APG. A career year for the NC State product.
Call this season what you want, but the fact that Warren is performing the way he is tells me that he’s been consistently in the gym, and working while other guys take time off. Having Oladipo back in the lineup has given him the confidence to keep going after he said these comments:
Hey look, T.J. Warren is on a different planet right now,” Oladipo said (via ABC News). “It don’t matter what I say, it don’t matter what you say, it don’t matter what somebody down the street say — Johnny, Barley, Ms. Susie — he locked in right now. I don’t need to encourage him to do anything; he’s going to put the ball in the rim regardless of who’s out there.”
If that doesn’t tell you where this team as a whole is at right now I don’t know what it is. Everyone is buying into what Warren is putting out. They are playing through him, getting more looks than usual and he’s running with opportunity.
It’s all about the environment you’re in when it comes to performing in the NBA. When he was in Phoenix he never fit in with the system and wasn’t being used to the best of his ability. Stick him with an Indiana team that needed a second scorer and more importantly that believes in your abilities. Once Oladipo catches back up to speed this team is going to be scary.
The pacers sit tied for fourth in the East and you already know it will be a battle on Monday against the Heat who share that tie for fourth. The most anticipated game since Warren’s outburst and the scuffle between him and Butler. Oh how I love the NBA bubble!