The Toronto Raptors are an organization that is more than willing to give players a second chance. Sometimes, injuries or a situation that doesn’t play to their skill set could make it tough for a particular player to maximize their value. Indiana Pacers wing TJ Warren could be in need of such a fresh start.
After a breakout performance in the Disney bubble, it looked like the former Suns first-round pick was ready to assert himself as someone who can play a vital role on a team perpetually in the postseason hunt. Unfortunately, the basketball deities have harshly sidelined Warren for the last two seasons.
Warren has just four games played in the last two seasons thanks to recurring foot injuries. Considering what a solid athlete he was, severe foot injuries are just about the worst possible ailment he could have had. His value has naturally plummeted.
The Raptors can’t afford to make too many missteps in free agency if they want to replicate their 48 wins from last year, so they need to be absolutely sure that Warren is healthy enough to contribute. If he’s healthy, Toronto needs to go above and beyond to sign him.
Will the Toronto Raptors take a chance on TJ Warren?
Warren’s last season with Phoenix and his first full year with Indiana were jaw-dropping, as he averaged over 19 points per game while making 41% of his 3-point attempts after struggling from deep early in his career. He didn’t have the name recognition, but it’s hard to argue with that production.
The Raptors want shooting and scoring, but they don’t want to compromise their foundational principles. Warren isn’t going to be Scottie Pippen on the defensive side of the ball, but he can provide enough resistance at both forward spots to hold his own in Toronto.
Even if he is in a somewhat limited state, Warren should be a certified bucket getter at the next level that is able to come right in and make a name for himself as the Sixth Man. With Svi Mykhailiuk falling out of favor, Warren offers a much higher ceiling if his foot is feeling OK.
The Raptors need to be a bit risky in his offseason, as beating other teams to Warren could be the difference between becoming a play-in team or a legit playoff team. That bench consistency was something Toronto won in spite of last year.