Kevin Durant Breaks Silence About ‘Surprising’ Nets Free Agency Signing

Kevin Durant

Getty Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets.

Amid all the chaos surrounding Kevin Durant’s trade request during the offseason, Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks made some key additions to their roster.

One of those was forward TJ Warren, who is turning into one of the most underrated signings of the free agency period with his play as of late. After playing such a key role in perhaps Brooklyn’s biggest win of the season against the Cleveland Cavaliers in their last game, Durant had high praise for the former Indiana Pacer.

“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.

“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.”

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TJ Warren Sounds off on His Defense

Upon signing with the Nets during the offseason, nobody was sure which version of Warren Brooklyn would be receiving. A multitude of questions surrounded the former Pacers forward, who missed the entire 2021-22 season with a foot injury.

However, the biggest concern was how effective Warren would be on defense, which was a need that the Nets desperately needed to address this season. But Warren has never been short on confidence about his defensive abilities. He believes it is a part of his game that has flown under the radar by default because he is a pure scorer.

“When you score so easily, and you’ve just been a natural scorer basically my whole career, other parts of my game can be underrated. But it’s on me to just consistently show that I’m a two-way player, just take pride in that, and giving 100 percent effort on both ends. Just not scoring, it’s defense as well. So just challenging myself every night on the defensive end,” Warren told the New York Post on December 27.

“Just being mindful that those possessions matter,” Warren said. “Just that attention and detail, boxing out, getting those possessions. Finishing defense with a rebound is very vital when you’re trying to win important games. So just trying to emphasize that now, so we’re just mindful of that consistently.”

Ben Simmons Praises TJ Warren’s Progression

A lingering foot injury delayed Warren from making his debut at the beginning of the season. It has been an uphill battle for him to return, especially with him only appearing in four games since the 2020 season, basically missing two years of play.

If anyone can relate to getting reacclimated to the NBA game, it would be Nets star, Ben Simmons. Simmons was supposed to make his Nets debut last season but did not after suffering a back injury that required off-season surgery. Simmons says that the more Warren plays, the clearer it becomes he is regaining the confidence he had before the injuries, which can only bode well for the Nets.

“He’s been great. Just building his confidence. It’s hard to come back, especially when you’ve been out for two years,” Simmons said to the New York Post. “So, you see him build his confidence, hitting shots, boxing out. He was top of the list. He had the biggest difference in box outs, so he’s been doing well.”

If Warren can continue with this current level of play, the Nets could be even more of a threat in the Eastern Conference.