There is no way to sugarcoat it, the New York Knicks have been an absolute mess this year. With the Knicks dropping their ninth game in a row on Sunday night, losing to New Orleans 103-99, the team is still searching for answers.
If they are looking for any silver linings, the Knicks just may have a found a real good player in Tim Hardaway Jr.
Hardaway Jr. was the Knicks first-round draft pick in April’s NBA Draft. Hardaway Jr. had himself a great three-year career at Michigan, leading them to the championship game against Louisville last season.
Obviously, I don’t think I need to remind anyone of his hoops’ pedigree, as he, of course, is the son of NBA great Tim Hardaway. Clearly, the bloodlines are there for Hardaway to be a special player.
At the moment, Hardaway Jr. is averaging just a modest 7.2 points a game to go along with 1.07 rebounds and 0.7 assists per game.
Hardaway Jr. is coming off his best game as a pro, though, as he scored 21 points (6-10 from the field, 5-8 from three-point range) off the bench on Sunday night vs. the Pelicans. With Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith being very erratic, Hardaway Jr. is making a case for extended playing time at shooting guard in the Knicks’ rotation. In his last two games, Hardaway Jr. is averaging 20 minutes a game. In his three games prior, Hardaway only received a combined 19 minutes of action.
As a player who plays both ends of the floor effectively and can inject some youthful exuberance into the club, Hardaway Jr. should be given the chance to shine. The problem is that because of the presence of Shumpert and Smith, Hardaway may continue to get inconsistent playing time.
However, the Knicks may do what has long been rumored and trade Shumpert to get Hardaway Jr. more playing time. With Shumpert rumored to be in Coach Mike Woodson’s doghouse (and management not exactly having his back) and him carrying the most trade value, don’t be surprised if the Knicks shake things up in the coming weeks and move Shumpert to free up more playing time for Hardaway Jr..
Shumpert has been rumored in trade talks in the last year with the Celtics, Nuggets, Cavaliers and now the Thunder. If any trade goes down involving Shumpert, Hardaway Jr. would be the primary beneficiary.
Regardless, whether the Knicks trade Shumpert or not, the team should explore ways to get Hardaway Jr. more playing time, as he’s earned it.
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