The New York Knicks were desperate for a point guard at the NBA trade deadline and they almost made an enormous mistake. They were trying to move Raymond Felton and Iman Shumpert, but teams weren’t very interested in either player. Teams the Knicks tried trading with were smarter than that. They all wanted Tim Hardaway Jr., the sharpshooter. But the Knicks outsmarted them by leaving Hardaway out of any trade. The Knicks are still desperate for a point guard, though.
New York knew what the other teams knew and Hardaway’s recent play has proven how good he is right now. But with each game, he seems to get better. He’s still very far from his potential in this his rookie year. Hardaway will turn 22 years old tomorrow. He’s still a young player with a lot to learn, but his scoring ability is quite impressive.
He played 25 minutes this afternoon against the Milwaukee Bucks and scored 20 points in a 115-94 New York Knicks victory. Hardaway was 8-for-12 from field-goal range including 2-of-6 from three-point range. He’s a great three-point shooter, but what’s also impressive is that Hardaway seems to score at will around the hoop. In his last five games, Hardaway is 20-of-28 from the field, excluding three-pointers.
Like the rest of the Knicks, Hardaway’s defense needs a lot of work. He constantly leaves shots uncontested and at times he looks confused as to where he should be positioned. I’ll attribute that to an inexperienced rookie trying to fit in with a team that doesn’t play much defense. You can’t hold that aspect of his game against him just yet.
The bottom line is — Tim Hardaway Jr. is more than just a sixth man-type of scorer. He is a scorer who can take over a game in the fourth quarter. This benefits Carmelo Anthony in a tremendous way. Hardaway has great basketball IQ and the more he plays, the better he gets. With the Knicks now winning six games in a row, they’re three games behind the Atlanta Hawks for the eighth playoff spot. Hardaway will be an integral part of Knick teams in the coming years and it’s very impressive to see how good of a scorer he is this early in his career.