Tim Hardaway Jr. drafted by the Knicks, could he replace J.R. Smith?
NEW YORK (PIX11) – The Knicks may have filled a widening hole during the NBA Draft last night by scooping up Tim Hardaway Jr. with the 24th pick.
With Jason Kidd now head coach of the Nets and J.R. Smith a free agent, Hardaway could be looking at serious minutes next season. At 6’6″ and 185 lbs., the former Michigan shooting guard has an NBA-ready body with All-Star pedigree. His father, Tim Hardaway, terrorized opposing guards in the Eastern conference during his years leading the Miami Heat.
One major question for coaches however, is whether or not his dad taught Hardaway enough hard-nosed defense to go along with this:
Hardaway Sr. was not welcome in the Garden, as the trash-talking point guard memorably dismantled the Knicks in Game 7 of the 1997 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. But will his son produce the same big-game success, especially from long range? According to a Michigan Wolverines blog Maize n Brew the younger Hardaway is a boom-bust player, capable of tremendous offensive breakouts followed by puzzling slumps, during which he settles for 3-point attempts — even when they aren’t falling.
That being said, he is largely recognized as a dangerous, streaky scorer, reminiscent of J.R. Smith himself. On Tuesday, Smith declined his option with the Knicks and became a free agent. He would have made only $2.9 million next year, a number that the market for the Sixth Man of the Year should easily surpass. All those factors — combined with a decision to keep Iman Shumpert at small forward — could spell a great opportunity for Hardaway in New York.
That is, however, only if they keep him — the Knicks have a history of dealing young, undeveloped players in deals for established pros such as Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Soudemire, etc.
Whichever way the upper office decides to go Knicks fans were largely happy with the pick, which was touted by the team brass as the best possible option at that point in the draft.
“We think we added a good piece to our team, he’s a talented young player that can shoot the ball well,” said GM Glen Grunwald. “He’s a good athlete and a really good worker and comes from a great program.”
Also among the fans of the pickup was Spike Lee, who tweeted: