The 2013-14 NBA season is right around the corner, and the New York Knicks have a bright and shiny new rookie to break in. But don’t expect Tim Hardaway, Jr. to contribute right away. I don’t say that because the kid is not talented. At 6-foot-6 and weighing 210 pounds, the rookie shooting guard jumped out of the gate during his NBA Summer League debut with 13 points and five rebounds against the New Orleans Pelicans and displayed a knack for hitting contested pull up jump shots. In fact, he appeared to be more comfortable shooting the ball of the dribble than he was hitting a stand still jump shot. That is normally a vice-versa experience for most shooters. But he can shoot the three-point shot as well.
Tim displayed a touch from NBA range on several occasions this past summer, but much of his competition at Summer League will never see NBA playing time. While his height and size are prototypical for an NBA shooting guard, average simply will not cut it on this New York Knicks roster-which is heavy on scoring guards, slashers and forwards. As is the case with most rookies, there is room for improvement in Hardaway Jr’s game. He has typical NBA athleticism and can finish at the rim on the break, but isn’t exactly spectacular in that regard.
However, Hardaway has shown the ability to take the ball to the basket and draw fouls — something many rookie shooters fail to do. He has also displayed a willingness to make the extra pass, which demonstrates a sound basketball IQ. With J.R. Smith, Iman Schumpert , and perhaps Beno Udrih in small stints, likely occupying the off guard position for most of the season, it is unlikely he will see more than 15 minutes per game early on. But if he shows he can contribute consistently coach Mike Woodson will have no choice but to find minutes for him.