With Kevin Durant sidelined due to a knee injury, Nets forward T.J. Warren feels as if he’s capable of stepping up and taking on a bigger role. However, as Brian Lewis of The New York Post writes, Warren is still on a minutes limit after missing nearly two years of action, and while he recognizes it’s in his best interest, he can’t help but be frustrated by it.
“Yeah, it’s super-frustrating, trust me,” Warren said. “It’s trying to find a balance (between) being out two years but also knowing that I feel like I can carry the load a little bit during those long stretches.
“But just got to put my trust and training staff’s hands. … They’ve been doing a great job with me, got me back to this point, and just got to see the bigger picture, end of the season, playoffs, playing at my best, hopefully off the minute restriction.”
Warren has averaged 20.7 minutes per game in 19 appearances since making his season debut. In the Nets’ last three games with Durant unavailable, he has averaged 16.0 points in 24.9 minutes per night.
Here’s more on the NBA’s two New York-based teams:
- Despite losing all three of their games since Durant’s injury, the Nets remain upbeat and confident that they’ll be able to right the ship and avoid a repeat of last season’s 5-16 slide without KD, Lewis writes in another New York Post story. “Last year it was… it was kind of a toxic environment,” Nic Claxton said. “We didn’t know if everybody wanted to be here at the time. This year there’s no divide between everybody that’s out there. We’re going to figure it out.” As Lewis notes, Claxton’s comments appear to be referencing James Harden, who asked to be traded during Durant’s absence.
- After being waived by the Nets last week, rookie guard Alondes Williams has rejoined the Long Island Nets, Brooklyn’s G League affiliate, according to Chris Milholen of NetsDaily. Williams had spent plenty of time with Long Island on his two-way contract, but is now an NBA free agent and would be free to sign with any team if he gets an offer.
- Knicks center Mitchell Robinson left Wednesday’s game due to a sprained right thumb and will undergo further evaluation on Thursday to determine the severity of the injury, per Zach Braziller of The New York Post. If Robinson misses time, big man Jericho Sims will likely reclaim a rotation role for New York.
- Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau isn’t concerned about how much court time his top players are seeing, referring to critics of his rotation as the “minutes police,” Braziller says in another story for The New York Post. “I know you guys like to create the narrative for your stories and you don’t look at it in totality,” Thibodeau said. “I don’t think we have anyone in the top 20 in minutes played.” As Braziller details, in the 15 most recent games entering Wednesday night, Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson were in the NBA’s top five in minutes played, while Quentin Grimes was 14th. However, all three players rank much lower among the full-season minutes leaders.