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T.J. Warren, Victor Oladipo, Pacers

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T.J. Warren: Did the Pacers find a potential go-to scorer during Victor Oladipo’s absence?

T.J. Warren: Did the Pacers find a potential go-to scorer during Victor Oladipo’s absence?

With Victor Oladipo sidelined for what will probably be around the first two months of the season, the Indiana Pacers are going to need to find a way to get by.

Of course, this is something to which the Pacers are accustomed.

Oladipo went down last January and was knocked out for the remainder of the 2018-19 campaign, and yet, Indiana still managed to win 48 games and nab a top-five seed in the Eastern Conference.

The problem is, the Pacers have seen some roster turnover since that point.

Gone is Bojan Bogdanovic, who took center stage as the No. 1 option on offense in Oladipo’s absence. Thaddeus Young is also no longer around to be an all-around threat, and complementary scorers like Tyreke Evans and Wesley Matthew are also not present anymore.

Fortunately, Indiana may have a solution.

The Pacers had what was a very productive offseason overall, bringing in Malcolm Brogdon, T.J. Warren and Jeremy Lamb, all of whom are very solid scorers who should help pick up the slack while Oladipo recovers.

But let’s focus on Warren for a second.

The former Phoenix Sun is coming off of a season in which he averaged 18 points per game while shooting 48.6 percent from the floor, 42.8 percent from three-point range and 81.5 percent from the free-throw line.

It should be noted that that came over a 43-game sample size, as Warren missed significant time with injuries, but it’s still impressive, nonetheless.

Over the course of five seasons with the Suns, Warren registered 14.4 points per game while making 49.7 percent of his shots, 34 percent of his triples and 76.6 percent of his free throws, so it remains to be seen if Warren’s perimeter shooting from last season was a fluke (he shot 30 percent just once prior to last year, when he made 40 percent of his treys on low volume in 2015-16).

However, if Warren did experience a breakthrough last year, then Indiana may have just gotten a special player.

And there is reason to believe that Warren’s strong outside shooting will continue.

The 26-year-old worked tirelessly on his shot during the summer of 2018 and made some minor adjustments, enough to feel confident enough to attempt 180 three-pointers in half of a season, by far a career high.

So, it’s not like Warren was making over 42 percent of his threes while just taking one or two per game. He was attempting 4.2 triples a night.

Couple that with the fact that Warren’s offensive game is very smooth otherwise, and the Pacers may have found a guy who could potentially average 20 points per game on strong efficiency.

Now, the main issue for Warren has been staying healthy. In five NBA seasons, he has played 40, 47, 66, 65 and 43 contests, respectively. Considering that the Pacers are relying on his scoring to replace an injured Oladipo, that is a scary thought.

Warren can work on his shot as much as he wants, but if he is not able to stay on the floor, it’s not going to matter, and avoiding injuries is mostly outside of his control.

But let’s assume that Warren can stay healthy.

Suddenly, Indiana has two potential 18-20 point per game scorers in Warren and Brogdon to shoulder the burden as Oladipo makes his way back, and once Oladipo returns, the Pacers could be that much deadlier.

Indy didn’t surrender much to acquire Warren from Phoenix, either, so this could end up being a coup of a trade for the Pacers.

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