Upon the Knicks drafting Tim Hardaway Jr. on Thursday night, not only did many fans have to blink and do a double take at the name, but the jokes regarding the team believing they were instead drafting old-time nemesis (and since retired) Tim Hardaway flowed right in.
But alas, New York did draft a young gun after all, opting to bring the son of an old arch-rival aboard. Hardaway Jr. was the twenty-fourth overall selection in the 2013 NBA Draft. Given how big and critical such a market the Big Apple really is, the Knicks’ draft choice has already been met with mixed reactions. Perhaps the city and the team would rather it no other way.
The good news is Hardaway Jr., a guard out of Michigan, should be able to step in and make some sort of positive impact right away. He’s confident, plays well when it matters most, and his long-range shooting prowess can help the Knicks spread the floor well.
Hardaway Jr. is the type of player a team plants beyond the three-point line to stay ready for his shot while drawing opposing defenders outside. The Knicks were hoping Iman Shumpert could blossom in such a role this past season, but frankly, planting him in a specific spot like that limits his offensive explosiveness. What’s more, he himself is not much of a long-range shooter.
But Hardaway Jr., on the other hand, just might be the frick to a player like Shumpert’s frack. Playing them together (or alternating them back and forth on the court) as a one-two punch could benefit the Knicks.
But whereas Hardaway Jr. has a certain skill or two that Shumpert lacks, the same thing applies the other way around as well. The Michigan product lacks that same bounciness and/or extra pep in his step that a player like Shumpert has. Thus, he may not be the best type of player in a run and gun offense.
For further evidence a player with limited mobility and/or explosiveness has trouble on the hardwood, look no further than Steve Novak’s struggles with consistency this past season.
Limited in a number of ways, Hardaway Jr.’s potential and/or ceiling for what’s to come may not be terribly high. That said, the things he does do well stand to benefit the Knicks, now and in the future.
Another positive wrinkle in Hardaway Jr.’s favor is the fact that he has familiarity with the old school Knicks-Heat rivalries. Though his father was indeed on the other side of things, just the idea that Hardaway Jr. can appreciate and grew up watching those intense battles says something. He knows exactly the type of success the Knicks are trying to recapture.