PHOENIX — Watching the Nets battle on offense with out the injured Kevin Durant has been maddening, much more so as a result of microwave scorer T.J. Warren has been shackled by a minutes restrict.
And no person has been extra galled than Warren himself. Even with Durant and Kyrie Irving each out Tuesday, Warren was restricted to only 24:07 in a loss to the woebegone Spurs. He nonetheless put up a team-high 19 factors on 7-for-13 capturing however was left with the distinct impression he might have performed extra.
“Yeah, it’s super-frustrating, belief me,” Warren informed The Put up. “It’s looking for a steadiness [between] being out two years but additionally figuring out that I really feel like I can carry the load a bit of bit throughout these lengthy stretches.
“However simply obtained to place my belief and coaching workers’s palms. … They’ve been doing an incredible job with me, obtained me again thus far, and simply obtained to see the larger image, finish of the season, playoffs, taking part in at my greatest, hopefully off the minute restriction.”
These aforementioned two years — plus a looming glut of video games — are why the Nets are treating Warren with child gloves. However with an 0-3 document since Durant sprained his proper MCL, and with the four-time scoring champ not slated to be reevaluated till early subsequent week, will these gloves have to come back off?
The 6-foot-8, 220-pound Warren will not be solely a place match for energy ahead, however his three-level scoring is much-needed in Durant’s absence. Warren averaged 19.6, 18.0 and 19.8 factors from 2017-20 earlier than lacking the previous two campaigns resulting from stress fractures and a number of surgical procedures.
Therefore, he’s having his taking part in time intently monitored by the Nets, who convey a three-game skid into their sport Thursday towards the Suns.
“I’m pissed off with the minute restriction, however simply understanding that it’s a much bigger purpose in direction of the tip of the season, playoffs, extra necessary. However each sport I really feel like is necessary and undoubtedly need to contribute as a lot as I can,” Warren informed The Put up. “However I belief the coaching workers. [We] sort of bump heads rather a lot with it. Attempt to maintain my head up and keep constructive.”
Warren has averaged 12.5 factors over the previous 12 video games on 50.8 p.c capturing and 39.4 p.c from behind the arc in 23.4 minutes. He has been even higher previously seven, bumping these numbers to 13.0 factors on 52.1 p.c capturing. However coach Jacque Vaughn and the efficiency workforce — maybe not in that order — have restricted the veteran ahead to a scant 21.9 minutes per sport previously seven.
“It’s actually going to be a problem for us, since you take a look at final week: We had two video games in seven days, we have been alleged to deal with enterprise and have lots of juice and energy [Tuesday]. We didn’t deal with enterprise,” Vaughn stated. “Now we come [to Phoenix] and also you’ve obtained three in 4 [days], so that you’ve obtained to consider that, what that appears like on a back-to-back with Phoenix and Utah.
“So I’m actually making an attempt to get our guys to focus on at present. … If Phoenix presents itself and T.J. can play extra minutes, then we’ll try to win that sport with T.J. However I’ll be good about it long-term. I don’t need to put guys in place the place we don’t have them for the stretch. Once more, we’re going to try to use everyone in Phoenix and attempt to get a win.”
No person is aware of what Warren could have left within the tank for the stretch run. However he has proven he can deal with important minutes for now with out diminishing returns.
Prior to now 12 video games, he has averaged 15.3 factors at any time when he has topped 23 minutes. And previously seven, he has averaged 18.0 any time he has hit that mark.
“We wish guys simply to make use of their minutes to play as laborious as attainable,” Vaughn stated. “I informed the blokes, ‘Don’t play such as you’re taking part in half-hour, play such as you’re taking part in quarter-hour.’ Give that effort, give that self-discipline, and we’ll construct from there.”