New York Knicks: Why Knicks Fans Should Be Happy About Bringing Tim Hardaway Jr Back

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 22: Tim Hardaway Jr.
ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 22: Tim Hardaway Jr. /
ATLANTA, GA – NOVEMBER 09: Tim Hardaway Jr.
ATLANTA, GA – NOVEMBER 09: Tim Hardaway Jr. /

Big news dropped last night as the New York Knicks signed Tim Hardaway Jr to a four-year, $71 million offer sheet. If the Atlanta Hawks don’t match, Hardaway Jr would rejoin his former team.

This deal has been getting a lot of hate, and I’m not saying it’s the best deal or that Hardaway Jr is the next MVP.

However,  I do think bringing Hardaway Jr back is a step in the right direction for the New York Knicks, and here’s why:


Hardaway Jr last season averaged just over 27 minutes per game, scoring 14.5 points per contest. The guard had a 45.5% field goal percentage and shot 35.7% from behind the arc.

Overall these are solid numbers, especially considering he was coming off of the bench until Kyle Korver was traded.

The Korver trade is actually what turned Hardaway Jr into the expensive free agent he has become. After Korver was shipped to Cleveland, Hardaway Jr went on to average 32 minutes per game and score 18.5 points per game, while shooting 38% from three.

Those scoring numbers are that of a serious offensive weapon. Compared to Courtney Lee‘s stat line of 32 minutes played, averaging just 10.8 points per game, Hardaway Jr is a serious upgrade.

Hardaway Jr also gives more versatility to the Knicks as he can handle the ball and score on his own. Lee, on the other hand, is really just a catch-and-shoot player.

ATLANTA, GA – APRIL 28: Guard Tim Hardaway, Jr.
ATLANTA, GA – APRIL 28: Guard Tim Hardaway, Jr. /


After being drafted by the New York Knicks back in 2013, Hardaway Jr struggled on defense.

His lack of defense was part of the reason why Hardaway Jr was traded to Atlanta for a draft pick that was eventually used to select Jerian Grant.

However, as Hardaway Jr has progressed, he has taken defense more seriously. His defensive rating went up seven points when he was a starter compared to when he was coming off the bench.

Another nerdy stat: among all NBA guards, Hardaway Jr ranked 19th in defensive win shares (.039), while Lee was ranked 143rd (.015).


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Hardaway Jr is just 25 years old, which means when this contract is up, he’ll only be 29!

The Knicks aren’t signing a washed up scrub, or doing what they did with Amar’e Stoudemire. Stoudemire gave them two really good seasons and the rest were his twilight years.

Hardaway Jr is a young player that’ll be joining a team with a young nucleus.

Maybe I’m missing the point but isn’t that what a rebuild is all about?

Not to mention, Hardaway Jr has improved every season he’s played. So who’s to say he can’t develop into a good starting shooting guard on a playoff team?

Another thing to consider is that with Hardaway Jr coming in, Lee is probably on his way out.

Personally, I think throwing Lee into a trade with Carmelo Anthony makes the Rockets more likely to pull the trigger. Heck, maybe the Cavs too!

All in all, bringing Hardaway Jr back to the Big Apple is a good start to fixing the disaster caused by Phil Jackson.

Next: Celtics Reach Out to Knicks About Marcus Smart

Not saying he’s gonna be a superstar, but bringing Hardaway Jr in, and assuming the Knicks trade Lee, makes the team younger and makes for a higher ceiling.

That’s part of a rebuild, or should I say, it’s part of the “process”?