The Brooklyn Nets are now the hottest team in the NBA, winning ten straight games starting back on December 7 in their 122-116 victory over the Charlotte Hornets. One of the players that has been able to make a surprising impact for the Nets has been T.J. Warren. Brooklyn signed Warren to a one-year $2.6 million deal this summer and after missing two seasons due to injury, Warren is averaging 10.3 points and 3.4 rebounds a game for the Nets. His impact has been gained recognition around the league recently.
NBA Insider Keith Smith, on the December 28 episode of his ‘Postin’ Up with Keith Smith and Adam Taylor podcast‘, called the Warren signing and development for Brooklyn a “rich getting richer” move when asked about T.J. Warren’s impact for the Nets.
“Great? I mean, he looks really really good for the Nets right now. It’s uh, you know, I had somebody say this. I said this on a radio appearance the other day, and then somebody tweeted at me and was like, “really, you know, he’s just he’s only scoring ten points per game?” Yeah, he’s scoring ten points per game in less than twenty minutes a night. So shooting 55.7 percent from the field and 38.9 percent on threes. Threes are gonna take a little while to get his volume back up. That will come with time. I don’t know that we’ll see him take the volume of free throws he did, but you know, we talked about the Nets quite a bit before, but just giving them another guy they can plug in there that can just go score the ball and is pretty good away from the ball too. I mean, that’s tough man, that’s rich getting richer stuff,” Smith said on the latest episode of Postin’ Up.
Kevin Durant Praises T.J. Warren This Season
While Warren is often praised for his offense, his Nets teammate Kevin Durant called out Warren’s impact on the defensive end for the Nets in a conversation with Brian Lewis of the New York Post.
“I wouldn’t say I’m surprised. What’s surprising was how good he is at deflecting the basketball on defense. Scorers like him get a rap on defense, but he’s made an impact on that end. He’s a natural,” Durant said of Warren via Brian Lewis of the New York Post.
When the Nets acquired Warren, they knew they were getting a scorer, but many expected it to take time for him to get used to it after recovering from foot injuries. Even Durant thought it would take time for Warren to get back, but commented about the forward quickly earning the trust of his Brooklyn teammates.
“I thought it’d take him time to get his legs, [and] his confidence back, but I was wrong about that. Hopefully, he keeps it up. Coaches trust him, teammates trust him, he’s been playing well,” Durant continued with the New York Post.
Hottest Team in the NBA: The Brooklyn Nets
Warren has been one of many players to make an impact for the Nets this season. The team’s offense has been difficult to stop with all of its weapons, and when you add another scoring threat like Warren, the rich truly do get richer. Brooklyn currently sits at fifth place in the NBA for their Offensive Rating, which has been a major factor in their current ten-game win streak. They are also getting an added boost on defense.
Earlier this month, Nets big man Nic Claxton sounded off about his name not being in the running for the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award this season.
“Honestly, I feel like I’m one of the best defenders in the league. I feel like I should be in the talk for Defensive Player of the Year. I feel like I haven’t been getting the respect I deserve,” Claxton said following their December 16 win against the Toronto Raptors. “We’ve been winning. My numbers are good. I’ve been protecting the rim, guarding one through five. So it’s just me being me, doing what I do, bringing that energy. And it’s great for the team.”
Claxton is right, his defensive stats have been terrific. In the tenth game of the Nets’ win streak on December 28 against the Atlanta Hawks, Claxton matched his career high with another 6-block performance in their 108-107 victory against the Hawks. The play from the Nets as a defensive unit sits among the league’s top ten by one place as they currently sit at number 11 among the league’s best defensive ratings.