The Phoenix Suns announced today that they will be sending TJ Warren and Tyler Ennis to D-League for a stint with the Bakersfield Jam, the teams solo affiliate.
Ennis, the 18th overall pick in the draft, has played in only 2 games so far this season as he finds himself at the end of a very deep point guard rotation. In his 18 minutes of court time, Ennis has made 1/4 shots for 2 points, 1 rebound, 3 assists, a block and 3 turnovers.
Speculation that Ennis would see time in the D-League has been pretty rampant since the Summer, when the Suns' hyper-talented guard rotation came into being and pushed him even farther down the depth chart. Recent quotes from Head Coach Jeff Hornacek seemed to indicate that the team did not intend to lean heavily on the Jam as a source of playing time for their young guys, but such an early assignment seems to run counter to those thoughts.
Perhaps less expected was that he would be joined in Bakersfield so early in the season by T.J. Warren. Warren is coming off of a thumb injury that has limited him to just one appearance for the Suns, when he logged 1 minute against the Golden State Warriors.
While the speculation was that Warren might get more playing time, this could be something of a confidence building measure after Warren's injury. Hornacek mentioned in his recent statements on the Jam that he envisioned using the team as a place to help build up the confidence of guys. Coming off of his first injury and finding himself playing limited minutes, this could be nothing more than a move to shore up Warren's psyche by the coaching staff.
Regardless of why they were assigned to Bakersfield, at this point we shouldn't expect Ennis or Warren to spend an extended amount of time playing for the Jam. Coach Hornacek was very explicit that he did not see much if any benefit from players spending long stints in the D-League. Unless his recent discussions with GM Ryan McDonough have changed his mind, we can likely expect to see Ennis and Warren back in a Suns uniform soon.
Look for Ennis and Warren in the Bakerfield Jam's season opener this Friday, November 14th, when they take on the Texas Legends at home. The game is at 7 pm PST, and will air on YouTube.