After—for the most part—an up and down rookie season with the New York Knicks, Tim Hardaway Jr. is starting to really ease into his role as pivotal spark plug off the bench. His intensity on both sides of the ball has been a boon to the Knicks in the last two weeks.
The Knicks are hot at the moment and while Carmelo Anthony gets all of the pub (rightfully so, mind you), Hardaway Jr. is also playing a huge part of late. Hardaway Jr. is starting to gain more confidence and as a result so has coach Mike Woodson.
Hardaway Jr., the Knicks 2013 first-round draft pick, has scored in double digits in five out of his last six games and is averaging 18.3 points a game in his last four games. For the year, Hardaway Jr. is averaging 9.1 points per game.
NBA New York Knicks (@nyknicks) January 29, 2014
This all comes on the heels of Hardaway Jr. enjoying the finest night of his career on Thursday night vs. the Cavaliers. Against Cleveland, Hardaway Jr. had a career-high 29 points to go with a career-high six three pointers. And to boot, the Knicks are currently riding a four-game winning streak heading into another showdown with the Miami Heat on Saturday night.
For his merits, Hardaway Jr. was recently named to the Rising Stars Challenge.
Hardaway Jr. has shown that he can be a versatile scorer, who is equally adept at shooting from deep as he is going hard to the basket. With Iman Shumpert in a rut, Hardaway Jr. is capitalizing on his opportunity for extended minutes in the backcourt.
In the last five games, Hardaway Jr. is averaging 27 minutes a game. For the year Hardaway Jr. is averaging 19.7 minutes a game. If Woodson keeps this up and gives Hardaway Jr. these many minutes, good things could be in store.
With the Knicks knocking on the door for a playoff spot in the weakened Eastern Conference, some secondary scorers are going to have to step up and complement Anthony if New York wants to have a sustained run.
With the way he is playing of late, Hardaway Jr. might just be that guy.
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