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It’s Time For The Suns To Start T.J. Warren

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In this week’s #BSOfTheSuns Espo retracts a longtime belief

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

After a loss like the Suns suffered at the hands of the Lakers where they looked like the court jesters to Lebron’s King James, it leaves you wondering more than a few things. Honestly, after the opening night win and three straight double-digit losses, the season is starting to feel like getting a tooth brush amidst your candy on Halloween. Excitement gives way to immense confusion quite quickly.

While we could pick apart the lack of a point guard after 59 turnovers in three games, we’ll save that for another day. You can only beat a dead horse — what an awful turn of phrase — so many times on a site called Brightside and I figure the commenters already have that under control.

There’s the constantly present micromanager who signs the checks that we could focus on but, been there, done that and have the billboard to prove it.

Devin Booker’s injury is of concern but I’m not a doctor and didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn last night so it’s not worth wildly speculating what it could mean for him and the team moving forward.

What I want to talk about is a subject I never imagined I’d be advocating for. As a matter of fact, I spent most of last season arguing the exact opposite.

That said, it’s time to start T.J. Warren.

Shocking, I know. But sometimes you have to admit you’re wrong and fight for what’s right.

In a lineup with a glut of natural small forwards, there has yet to be anyone who has stepped up at power forward and proven they want the role. Ryan Anderson has been playing as if Dragan Bender found a Zoltar machine at the State Fair and wished to be “Big”. Bender has played only three more minutes than Charles Barkley this season for the Suns. And after that, the roster is fairly devoid of talent at that position.

With Warren finding his three point stroke, shooting well over 50% so far, continuing to connect from midrange and having a knack for getting to the hoop, he could prove to be quite the valuable weapon when the blender starts churning. Sure, the three point percentage will come down to earth but, with his new form, shooting in the mid-30s seems like a realistic possibility and that is more than enough to keep defenses honest on him and make it justifiable to keep him on the floor in key situations.

But whose spot would he take in the starting lineup?

The option, as much as it pains me to say, is quite obvious. Despite being a card carrying member of the Anderson fan club, his performance or lack thereof in the first week of the season makes it easy to move him to the bench in favor of starting Trevor Ariza at the four spot and sliding Warren in at the three. That gives you a fast, versatile and offensively capable lineup that might jumpstart a team that has appeared to just be going through the motions like the cast of Last Man Standing after just four games.

The Suns have a lot of questions right now. Will starting T.J. Warren answer all or even some of them? Probably not. What it will do is show that Coach Kokoskov rewards effort, results and guys willing to evolve their games beyond their current skill set. And while he says he doesn’t “coach effort” a move like this might just be able to help coax it out of certain guys. Which this team will need if they hope to get things back on track.