Celtics Could Be in the Mix For ‘Bucket Getter’: Analyst

TJ Warren

Getty T.J. Warren #1 of the Indiana Pacers.

After being two wins away from winning their 18th championship as a franchise, the Boston Celtics will explore every avenue they can to get better. One way in which they can do this is by getting someone who could help them in the scoring department. Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer recently went on NBC Sports Boston to suggest which free agent this summer could help them there – TJ Warren.

“He was injured last year. You would need to gauge what his health is, but that’s what (Brad) Stevens talked about. He says more consistent scoring off the bench. Warren is a 40-plus percent shooter off the catch from three-point range, so he can play off of all of Boston’s other ball handlers. But the dude is a bucket getter from mid-range. His ability to get to the basket. He can provide some of that penetration to get into the paint that the Celtics did lack this year in addition to the fact that he’s big. Like, he’s 6’8”. He can defend multiple positions. He’s not a stopper by any means, but he’s no liability so he’s somebody that could make sense in a sign-and-trade scenario for Boston.”

Boston tied with the Charlotte Hornets for the eighth-highest offensive rating in the 2021-22 season, scoring 113.6 points per 100 possessions, according to NBA.com. That however dropped to 110.3 points per 100 possessions in the postseason, which put them ninth among the 16 teams that qualified for the playoffs.

For reference, the Miami Heat, who the Celtics eliminated in the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals, placed one spot higher, scoring 110.7 points per 100 possessions. Boston will have to do better than that scoring-wise if they truly want to win a championship in the near future. On paper, Warren would help with that.

Warren’s Reputation as a Scorer

Since being drafted by the Phoenix Suns in 2014, Warren has built himself up as a scorer. From his rookie year to his third year in the league, Warren saw his points average go up from 6.1 to 14.4. The next three seasons served as Warren’s breakthrough in the NBA.

From 2017 to 2020, Warren averaged 19.6, 18, and 19.8 points over the course of those three seasons for the Suns and the Indiana Pacers. In the latter two of those three seasons, Warren also found his footing as a three-point shooter, shooting 42.8 percent from three on 4.2 attempts in the 2018-19 season, then shooting 40.3 percent from three on 3.4 attempts in the 2019-20 season.

Warren’s scoring abilities were on full display in the NBA Bubble in 2020, where he scored 53 points against the Philadelphia 76ers.

TJ Warren Caught 🔥 For Career-High 53 PTS!TJ Warren Caught 🔥 for a career-high 53 PTS (9/12 3PM) in Pacers victory over Philadelphia! #WholeNewGame Subscribe to the NBA: on.nba.com/2JX5gSN Full Game Highlights Playlist: on.nba.com/2rjGMge For news, stories, highlights and more, go to our official website at nba_webonly.app.link/nbasite Get NBA LEAGUE PASS: nba.app.link/nbaleaguepass52020-08-02T02:16:01Z

On paper, Warren would be a reliable scorer for the Celtics. The only issue at play would be his durability.

Warren’s Injury History

Warren’s reputation as a scorer would make him the ideal target for the Celtics this offseason. The problem is that Warren’s injury issues over the past two years with the Indiana Pacers could potentially scare them or any other interested party away from making an investment in him.

The last time Warren played in an NBA game was on December 29, 2020, against the Celtics before he opted for season-ending surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left foot. The Pacers hoped that Warren would be able to return at some point during the 2021-22 season, but the team announced on March 17 that while Warren was fully recovered, both he and the team deemed it best for him to not come back to play this past season.

Warren would help anyone who’s looking for a scorer, but his foot injury issues for the past two seasons are an immediate red flag.

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