As a dismal 2013-14 NBA season wore on for the New York Knicks, they seemed to always show flashes of improvement, but never fully put it together and ultimately missed out on the NBA Playoffs. However, it’s hard to deny that the Knicks continually saw flashes from then rookie Tim Hardaway Jr.
Now on the verge of entering his second season in the league and with the Knicks, Hardaway Jr. is once again with the team at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. Through three games, he’s been the star of the Knicks squad and is making a strong case that he deserves to play a bigger part in New York this upcoming season.
Playing 25.3 minutes per game in Vegas, Hardaway Jr. has put up 20.7 points, three rebounds, 1.7 assist and one steal per game while shooting a decent 41.9 percent from the floor and a stellar 39.1 percent from three. He came out of college boasting the ability to fill it up from beyond-the-arc and he’s been showcasing that ability thus far in Summer League.
During his rookie season, Hardaway Jr. played in 81 games and was on the floor for 23.1 minutes per game. In that opportunity, the now-22-year-old put up 10.2 points and 1.5 rebounds per game while shooting 42.8 percent from the floor and a solid 36.3 percent from three. He had his growing pains as a rookie on a struggling team, but he overall proved himself to be a valuable asset.
The real issue that presented itself last season regarding the Knicks and Hardaway Jr. is the simple fact that he never was given a consistent role. One night he would be on the floor for 30 or more minutes, but the next night he wouldn’t break 20 minutes. In fact, the only month that he didn’t have multiple games where he played fewer than 20 minutes in a game was February.
With Mike Woodson out and Derek Fisher in as head coach in New York, though, Hardaway Jr. has to be given a bigger role. Granted it’s only Summer League, but Hardaway Jr. has proven in Vegas that he’s ready to take on more responsibility and a larger, consistent role with this team. If that doesn’t happen, it’d be an egregious oversight on the part of the Knicks.