The Hornets hosted T.J. Warren of North Carolina State for a pre-draft workout on June 14th and could hope to select him with one of their two picks at the June 26th NBA Draft. Charlotte selects #9 and #24, and they could consider him at either pick (though #24 is more likely).
The Durham, NC native is known as a scorer but not a shooter, averaging 24.8 ppg which was good for third in the NCAA this past season. He scores in bunches. Whether in transition or a drive in the lane, his release is equal parts awkward and accurate, unorthodox yet effective.
His field goal percentage was over 52% which becomes even more impressive when you realize he was NC State’s only true scoring option for much of the season. Opposing defenses, you only had one job! But not many teams were able to slow T.J., let alone stop him. He was less stellar from 3-point range shooting less than 30% last season, but he’s shown signs that he’s working to improve in that area.
Warren’s weakness is his defense. He’s not an elite athlete. He swipes at the ball every chance he gets, which lead to 1.8 steals per game last season, good for 4th in the ACC. That also put him out of position many times if he missed the ball, and he is not in the habit of getting in a defensive stance.
Did you watch any of the NBA Finals and hear Mark Jackson say “hand down, man down?” T.J. is quick with his hands, but he keeps them down so he’s slow to challenge a shot. Not a deal breaker in my opinion, and something that could improve with a defensive coach (which he did not have in Mark Gottfried).
Hornets’ coach Steve Clifford may see more potential in Warren on defense than he has shown. Clifford told The Charlotte Observer’s Rick Bonnell he liked Warren’s defensive anticipation and instincts. He reportedly blocked Doug McDermott a few times in their 1-on-1 at the workout.
Here’s his Scouting Report from Draftexpress:
Charlotte needs help putting up points, and T.J. Warren scores. Period. Clifford sees him as a SF but he can dabble at PF or SG for a few minutes at a time. His defensive problems are all fixable, as is his rate shooting the 3. The Midrange Maestro seems to know he needs to work on his 3-point shot, telling Bonnell he feels he’s “making progress with that.” Considering he trimmed around 20 pounds off between his two years with the Wolfpack, the work ethic seems to be there.
Overall he seems a good fit for the Hornets, providing the offense that Michael Kidd-Gilchrist may not be able to, and I can see them playing off each other well.
The problem is #9 may be a little early, and the mock drafts are suggesting #24 may be too late.
What do you think fans? Should the Charlotte Hornets find a way to draft T.J. Warren?
Swarm and Sting is looking to add writers to the staff! If you are interested, you can apply here