Willie Warren profile
Drafted #54 in the 2010 NBA Draft by the Clippers
RCSI: 14 (2008)
Height: 6'4" (193 cm)
Weight: 208 lbs (94 kg)
Position: SG
High School: North Crowley High School (Texas)
Hometown: Fort Worth, TX
College: Oklahoma
Current Team: Bucaneros Guaira
Win - Loss: 9 - 6


Situational Statistics: This Year’s Shooting Guard Crop

Matt Williams
Matt Williams
Jun 10, 2010, 05:25 pm
Oklahoma’s struggles this season show in certain parts of Willie Warren’s situational statistics.

A player once projected to be selected near the top of the lottery, Willie Warren’s fall from grace shows in his numbers. He turned the ball over on 22.7% of his overall possessions, the highest amongst twos projected to be selected in the draft. Warren sits right at the average in overall scoring percentage at 42.5%, but is second lowest prospect in terms of transition scoring percentage at 45.1%, nearly 20% less than Evan Turner.

On the positive side, Warren shot 47.8% from the field in half court situations, the highest mark amongst all prospects. Much of his success against a set defense comes from his ability to score in isolation situations. His explosiveness played a key role in his 52.5% shooting in one-on-one scenarios –the highest percentage on our rankings. He also shot the highest adjusted field goal percentage in pick and roll situations at 60%. These are qualities that are in high demand in today’s NBA, and could make him an intriguing change of pace option in some team’s second unit, granted he’s able to hone the rest of his game.

Warren’s outstanding numbers in those sets are largely result of his ability to get to the rim and finish athletically. Warren ranks as the top finisher in our group at 1.31 PPP in a slightly below average 3 shots per-game at the rim. Similarly, he is the second best pull up jump shooter at 1.04 PPP in a meager 1.6 possessions in game. He ranks below average in both catch and shoot metrics, and it seems clear that Warren wasn’t always playing to his strengths last season.

Looking at those numbers alone, Warren seems like a high caliber offensive weapon who could win games for his team when his shot was falling, but there’s much more to the story. Despite his outstanding shooting in pick and roll situations and prolific one-on-one ability, he turned the ball over on nearly one-third of his possessions running the two-man game and on a quarter of his isolation touches. He was also the worst spot up player in terms of PPP (0.72). Warren clearly has some outstanding natural offensive tools, but his decision-making leaves a lot to be desired, that became much more apparent this season in the absence of Blake Griffin than it was last year.

Analyzing the NBA Combine Measurements

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
May 22, 2010, 08:11 pm
Willie Warren is not particularly long (6-6 wingspan), but he should be fine seeing minutes at the shooting guard position, considering his 6-2 ½ height. Measuring a legit 6-4 in shoes was a hurdle he needed to clear, and he managed to do so.

NCAA Weekly Performers, 2/26/10

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Matt Williams
Matt Williams
Kyle Nelson
Kyle Nelson
Joseph Treutlein
Joseph Treutlein
Feb 26, 2010, 01:47 pm
Jonathan Givony

Few players in recent memory have seen their NBA draft stock and overall reputation take as big of a hit as Willie Warren’s has this past season. Considered a likely top-10 pick had he elected to declare a year ago, Warren decided to stick around for another season and has seen his stock plummet to the point that it’s anyone’s guess where he might be picked at this point.

Some terrible losses early in the season, being benched in one game for undisclosed reasons, getting called out by his head coach in the national media at one point for his immature behavior, a nagging ankle injury that seemingly won’t heal, an untimely bout of mononucleosis–it’s tough to see how this season could have possibly gone any worse for the super talented sophomore.

It’s been a disaster for Oklahoma as well, as they’ve gone from being ranked in the top-10 in some preseason polls to sporting a 13-14 overall record and a disappointing 4-9 in the Big 12. His head coach Jeff Capel has pointed the finger directly at the player he convinced to return to school, repeatedly discussing agendas, a failure to buy in and showing off for NBA scouts as some of the reasons his incredibly talented team has underachieved so badly.

Warren’s on-court production has taken a significant hit in virtually every category. His 2-point percentage is down 5%, his 3-point percentage is down 6%, his turnover rate has nearly doubled and his assists and scoring are only up slightly in turn. Clearly playing alongside the best player in college basketball last year in Blake Griffin was far easier than the two hot-shot freshmen McDonald’s All-Americans that replaced him--Tiny Gallon and Tommy Mason-Griffin--who obviously have their own agendas and difficulties in regards to playing winning team basketball.

Warren’s role in Oklahoma’s offense has changed significantly in turn from last year to this, as he’s gone from being a complimentary spot-up shooter, transition finisher and occasional pick and roll player to a guy expected to shoulder a significant amount of the team’s half-court offense, often through his one on one play.

The place where Warren is struggling the most is with his jump-shot, as he just can’t seem to knock down catch and shoot jumpers at the same rate as he did last season. Much of this obviously has to do with the quality of looks he’s getting, as feeding off the double-teams Blake Griffin garnered on a regular basis is a lot easier than having to create all of his open looks himself. Losing a pass-first point guard in senior Austin Johnson and seeing him replaced with a wild, ball-dominant freshman in Tommy Mason-Griffin obviously hasn’t helped either.

Warren’s shot-selection isn’t doing him any favors, though, as you regularly see him spotting up for jumpers a good 3-5 feet beyond the NCAA 3-point line. Although he’s shown the ability to make this shot, there is simply no good reason for him to be taking such difficult attempts.

While Warren is surely a better shooter than the 31% he’s making from beyond the arc this season, he needs to do a better job of understanding his limitations and not rushing as many contested look as he does each game. Still, it’s surprising to see him convert on just 30% of his wide-open spot-up jumpers (according to Synergy Sports Tech) considering his consistent, compact form and excellent touch.

Warren has improved his ability to make shots off the dribble, something he’s been forced to do in his newly featured role. He’s converting an excellent 44% of his pull-up jumpers, again showing that outstanding knack for throwing the ball in the basket that had NBA types so excited about his prodigious scoring instincts this time last year.

As a shot-creator is exactly where Warren continues to show the most potential as an NBA player. Despite all of his shortcomings this season, his terrific talent is always looming in the background, reminding you how good he could become down the road if he’s ever able to put it all together.

Warren has a great first step and is extremely strong with the ball, being capable of simply overpowering his man on the way to the basket, but also possessing the body control and agility to contort himself and get his shot off in a variety of ways. He takes contact extremely well around the rim, drawing fouls at a solid rate, and finishes acrobatically with terrific touch and instincts, showing a variety of floaters, runners, scoop-shots and all kinds of other elegant moves. His skill-level is, once again, obviously incredibly high, but he just doesn’t always know how to harness it on a consistent basis, eventually getting out of control.

Warren has a tendency to dribble the air out of the ball, freezing out his teammates and looking quite selfish at times. He doesn’t seem to trust the other players on his team that much, and tends to get frustrated easily if things aren’t going his way, which leads to terrible body language and even worse decision making. His turnover rate is sky-high this season, 4.6 turnovers per-40 minutes pace adjusted, as he coughs the ball up on 24% of his possessions, which is simply an unacceptable rate.

The unfortunate thing is that Warren actually knows how to create shots for others, even if he’s always going to be more comfortable creating shots for himself first and foremost. He shows outstanding ability to drive and dish, particularly on the pick and roll, and will make some very creative passes from time to time that has led some scouts to believe that he may actually have a future at the point guard position at some point in time. Right now he’s far too much of a ball-stopper to be a team’s primary ball-handler, but with good coaching and added experience, that’s not something you can rule out down the road in a Rodney Stuckey or Tyreke Evans-style role.

Defensively, Warren is unimpressive, as is Oklahoma’s entire squad, which ranks a dismal 182nd in the country in defensive efficiency according to Ken Pomeroy. He puts very little effort in for the most part, getting beat off the dribble on a regular basis, possessing neither the size, length or fundamentals to come up with many stops, and often just resorting to reaching for steals. He’s going to have to improve significantly on this end of the floor if he wants to see minutes for most NBA coaches, but does appear to have the quickness and instincts to become at least decent here if he is willing to put the time and effort in.

The season Warren is having obviously doesn’t bode well for his NBA draft stock considering the reputation he had coming out of high school, that of a selfish player and malcontent. Certain NBA teams would be willing to put up with that when dealing with a superior talent and clear-cut difference maker, but now that Warren’s flaws as a player have been put under the microscope in the absence of Blake Griffin, his NBA draft standing is now a lot murkier.

Considering the clear-cut rift that appears to exist between him and Jeff Capel, it seems very unlikely that Warren will be back at Oklahoma next season.

The question now becomes—how far does he drop? At some point in the draft Warren’s talent as a shot-creator and overall scorer (things which are in demand like never before in today’s NBA) have to outweigh his negatives, and being picked up by a strong organization and reputable coach later on in the first round may actually be the best thing possible for him. The incredibly thorough background research NBA teams conduct will play a crucial role in where he gets picked.

Warren is the kind of guy that could quickly fade into oblivion if he’s not willing to adapt his game to playing alongside better players than him (and accept that fact), but he could also end up making many GMs look quite foolish if he matures and lands in a good situation. He’s one of the most talented guards in this draft any way you slice it, and it’s tough not to feel like the more wide-open and up-tempo NBA is far better suited for his style of play.

LeBron James Skills Academy Player Profiles

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Jul 13, 2009, 10:59 pm
-Willie Warren- Offensively, there wasn’t a more impressive player in attendance, as few possess the shot-creating tools that Warren does from the perimeter. His combination of athleticism, scoring instincts and aggressiveness made him quite a force here, as his shiftiness with the ball and long strides allow him to get nearly wherever he wants to go. When he wasn’t creating angles for himself to get to the rim, Warren showed an advanced ability to make contested shots from the mid-range and beyond the arc. On the downside, Warren measured in shorter than advertised at just 6-3 ½ in shoes with a 6-6 wingspan, and didn’t look anything like the point guard some experts have billed him as. It’s pretty clear that he’s most comfortable first and foremost looking for his own shot, as he seems to get tunnel vision once he starts driving down the lane. The coaches that worked with him raved about his attitude, which seems to be a constant theme.

NCAA Weekly Performers, 3/9/09

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Matt Williams
Matt Williams
Joseph Treutlein
Joseph Treutlein
Joey Whelan
Joey Whelan
Mar 10, 2009, 12:16 am
Willie Warren has made quite a bit of progress since the last time we evaluated him in late December, establishing himself as arguably the best scorer in this freshman class, but continuing to do so with excellent efficiency. Warren shows a pretty complete offensive repertoire, and has terrific potential to continue to develop down the road, as he’s a very good athlete with extremely advanced scoring instincts.

Warren’s 3-point shot seems to have steadied out significantly over the past few months, as he’s shooting over 38% in Big 12 conference play, up from 32% when we last looked at him. Despite possessing unorthodox shooting mechanics—with his elbow flailing way out and a low release point—Warren gets outstanding elevation on his jumper and shoots the ball identically on every attempt. He has range that extends past the NBA 3-point line, and great touch from anywhere on the floor—giving him excellent potential in this area.

Warren looks increasingly comfortable operating in the mid-range area as well, doing a nice job setting his feet before pulling up off the dribble, which makes him very dangerous when considering his ability to effortlessly create separation from defenders. From time to time Warren will show questionable shot-selection, settling for tough jumpers with a hand in his face—but this has been far less of an issue than previously thought going into the season.

What gives Warren truly special potential as an NBA shooting guard is his ability to put the ball on the floor and create offense for both himself and his teammates. He can handle the ball with either hand, showing a terrific first step, the ability to change gears and directions, phenomenal body control weaving his way through the lane, and the strength to finish aggressively through contact. It’s pretty obvious that creating his own shot is something that comes quite naturally to him, and certainly makes him a rare commodity in college basketball. As he continues to gain experience in this area and learns to truly harness his talent, he could potentially develop into a primary offensive option, even at the NBA level.

Warren has looked better and better at running the pick and roll as of late, showing nice patience and surprisingly good vision finding teammates on drive and dish plays. He’s seen quite a few minutes as Oklahoma’s primary ball-handler, and although it’s pretty clear that he’s most comfortable looking first and foremost for his own shot, he does appear to have the ability to facilitate an offense and handle some spot duties at the point, at least for a few minutes each game. Considering that he’s slightly undersized at 6-4, this might be something NBA teams want to see from him.

Defensively, Warren continues to show a good attitude on this end of the floor, looking pretty intense and very much willing to contribute. His strength, wingspan and lateral quickness give him excellent potential here down the road, but his lack of fundamentals and experience look very evident on a couple of possessions every night, where he can get taken advantage of. He tends to lose his focus at times, particularly off the ball, but in time he should be able to develop into a capable defender as long as he continues to display a good attitude here.

Not many players have helped their draft stock as much as Warren has over the past month or so, not only by showing outstanding upside, but also with his production and approach. You don’t find many freshman with his combination of shooting, slashing and physical tools, and it wouldn’t be shocking to possibly see him emerge as the next shooting guard taken off the board after James Harden. For now Warren is saying that he will be staying in school for another season, so we’ll have to see how things play out once he gets through the tournament.

Evaluating the NCAA Freshman Class

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Scott Nadler
Scott Nadler
Joseph Treutlein
Joseph Treutlein
Dec 24, 2008, 08:46 am
With player of the year candidate Blake Griffin receiving all of the attention, it's been the impressive play of freshman, Willie Warren, that has not only helped make the Oklahoma Sooners a top five team, but has turned Warren himself into a very intriguing prospect. Coming out of North Crowley (TX) High School and being a McDonald's All-American, Warren was one of the most highly touted freshmen entering this college basketball season, and he has not disappointed. With the ability to score and handle the ball, Warren can cause havoc this season in the Big 12, and is a legitimate threat to light it up on any given night—as he showed just last game by scoring 31 points at Rice.

Warren is a 6'4” shooting guard who displays great strength, excellent athleticism and a very long wingspan. Although he has been asked to play the point on occasion, Warren is a natural shooting guard with a scorer's mentality. He is currently averaging 20 points per-40 pace adjusted on 49% shooting from the field, and is 6th in the country in scoring amongst freshman.

Warren can score in a multitude of ways, yet he relies heavily and settles for too many 3's, where he is shooting a dire 32.1% on 4.3 attempts a game. He has a very low release point, as he shoots the ball from his chin. It has not been an issue thus far, as he gets it off fairly quickly, but it is going to be something to keep an eye on with conference play being around the corner.

He's proven he can hit shots from deep, but he has been very inconsistent thus far, as evidenced by a 22 point effort (11-13 FT Line) against Purdue, followed by a 5 point outing on 2 for 6 shooting against USC. The inconsistency is in his shooting mechanics as well; as he won't always get the same lift off from shot to shot. He can go from shooting a set shot to elevating high off the court in the same game, not a good quality for any shooter. His confidence is never really affected however, as he plays with a certain swagger and self assurance which is easy to see.

In order for Warren to maximize his potential, he will need to better take advantage of his quickness and great ball-handling skills. When he decides to go to the basket or get in the paint, he's proven that he can get by quick defenders because of his ability to change speeds and finish in traffic with his strength. On the other hand, Warren has shown a tendency to play out of control and over commit on a drive instead of utilizing a jump stop. Once he gains experience and learns how to control himself in the lane, his production will skyrocket.

In terms of going to the basket, Warren uses both hands effectively, but finishes with his right hand almost all of the time on both sides. He has a good knack of hitting the in-between shot but it would be nice to see him use his gifts to get to the foul line more (3.6 attempts per game). On the downside, he often tries to make the spectacular play, which can result in just that, but can also result in a costly turnover. His 1.44 A/TO ratio and 2.6 APG imply that Warren has done a pretty solid job buying into Oklahoma's system, which was a bit of a concern going into college with the reputation he developed in high school.

In transition or secondary breaks, Warren will almost always spot up behind the arc, instead of getting out and filling the lanes to get an easier opportunity. There are a couple times throughout a game however, when Warren will run by the man he's guarding after a shot attempt to leak out early and beat the defense down the court. This is a play that is commonly reserved for pick-up basketball and not high level division I competition. Although he's been successful at getting out and receiving a long outlet pass from one of the Griffin brothers, Warren will have to learn to pick his spots and not jeopardize his team defensively.

Speaking of defense, this is an area of Warren's game that is also inconsistent. He plays in spurts, not always showing a good stance or a desire to fight through screens. He gambles a lot on this end which is a main reason for his 1.6 steals a game. When he has it in his mind to lock down an opposition, he can do so with great lateral speed and as mentioned a long wingspan.

Assuming the role of Robin and playing in the shadows of a Batman-like superstar makes it difficult to stand out, but that is exactly what Warren has done this season. He plays with his emotions on his sleeve for better or for worse as the highs are often too high and the lows too low. With that said, as he gains some experience and becomes more mature, Warren can hopefully learn how to control his emotions, which will certainly elevate his game.

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