Is Tim Hardaway Jr. Taking Advantage Of The Opportunity Given To Him?


The season has not gone as planned for the New York Knicks, as they currently have the worst record in the NBA. With Carmelo Anthony out for the season because of surgery, and Amar’e Stoudemire being bought out, the Knicks have a lot of minutes available for young players to gain valuable experience. One of those players the Knicks were hoping to see positive things from is Tim Hardaway Jr. Thus far Hardaway Jr. has fallen short and is not taking advantage of the opportunity being presented to him.

Hardaway Jr., who the Knicks selected with the 24th overall pick in last season’s draft, has seen his efficiency drop drastically this season. His numbers are up across the board because of increased minutes being played, but nothing is being done as well as it was last year for the Knicks’ young shooting guard. This season Hardaway Jr. is shooting 38.8 percent from the field overall and 33.2 percent from the three-point line, both down from last season’s 42.8 overall and 36.3 from behind the three-point line. Even his free throw shooting as decreased, as he is still shooting a solid 80.5 percent this season, but it is still a drop off from his rookie season number of 82.8.

With so many injuries, the Knicks have to be happy Hardaway Jr. at least is healthy enough to play, but cannot be happy with the end results. Since Jose Calderon has gone down, Hardaway Jr. has been inserted into the starting lineup, but the results still leave much to be desired. In the last five games that he has started in, he has averaged 13.6 points on 40 percent shooting overall and 30.4 from the three-point line.

That improvement in the last five games is a welcome sight for the Knicks, as he has also shown a slight uptick in rebounding and assists per game as well, 3.6 and 1.8 respectively. While it is nice to see him improve slightly in any sample size, it would be nice if he did it more consistently.

Just looking at the same five-game sample, he had one bad game, two very good ones where it looked like he was turning the corner, then another two extremely poor ones. Consistency is one of the toughest things to find in the NBA, and it is something Hardaway Jr. needs to continue working on. Probably not coincidentally, the two games Hardaway Jr. shot the ball well in, the Knicks won; the three he struggled, they were blown out.

Knicks head coach Derek Fisher pointed this out, applauding Hardaway Jr. for the improvement he continues to show despite the circumstances. “Timmy has a great deal of potential as a young guard. He is showing more skill in handling the basketball and playing defense. Every guy on every team thinks he can score and there are plenty of guys who are willing to shoot the ball every time they get it. How many guys are willing to play defense every night and be the type of guy that’s going to do some of the dirty work? Tim is turning the corner in that area.”

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Sure Hardaway Jr. is improving, but he still leaves much to be desired if you are the Knicks. At his size, he should be averaging more rebounds per game than he does, and he has the size and athleticism to be a strong defender. Fisher noted that he is improving in both areas, but in all honestly, he couldn’t really get much worse.

Coming into the season Hardaway Jr. looked to be one of the set in stone pieces of the Knicks future. The 2014-15 season has been a struggle for everyone involved with the Knicks, and the sophomore slump from Hardaway Jr. is one of the more disappointing things coming out of it thus far.

The last 22 games of the season won’t mean much in terms of wins and loss because the Knicks are far from playoff contention, but there is still a lot at stake for a player like Hardaway Jr. If he doesn’t show improvement the remainder of the season, his status as a piece of the future may be something that changes.

Next: Are the Knicks closer to winning a title than the Nets?

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