As their cross-town rival the Brooklyn Nets get all the headlines on draft day, the New York Knicks quietly picked up a solid prospect in Tim Hardaway Jr. from the University of Michigan during the draft.
The Knicks need to make moves to improve their roster to compete with not only the Nets, but also with the Heat, Pacers, & Bulls if they have championship dreams, but don’t have much cap flexibility. They could not miss on this pick, and Hardaway Jr. was a safe pick.
We have seen the Knicks roll the dice big time in the draft and blow up in their face. Glen Grunwald knew he had to go the safest route here and Hardaway Jr. was a smart pick. Early talks had the Knicks very interested in Tony Mitchell, but red flags came up and Grunwald couldn’t afford to take that chance.
Hardaway Jr. will ease into Mike Woodson’s rotation and will never be asked to be a starter as long as Iman Shumpert is healthy. Hardaway’s playing time and immediate impact will have a lot to do with the status of J.R. Smith. If the Knicks keep Smith, Hardaway will be the second shooting guard off the bench and likely the seventh or eighth man in the rotation depending if Amar’e Stoudemire starts next season. If Smith isn’t back with the Knicks, Hardaway will likely be the first shooting guard and scoring option off the bench.
Hardaway Jr. has good size at 6’6” and 205 lbs. and has a very transferable game to the NBA. He scored 14.5 PPG at Michigan while being the second scorer behind the No. 8 pick teammate Trey Burke. The Knicks would like his free throw percentage to improve (69 percent last season), but will take the 43 percent from the field and 37 percent from the college three-point line.
One thing that doesn’t show up in the stats is winning.
Hardaway lead the Wolverines to the championship game, upsetting No. 1 Kansas and No. 3 Florida along the way. His winning attitude will fit perfectly in the Knicks “win-now” mode and his father will guide him through the day-to-day lifestyle of being an NBA player.
Hardaway can create his own shot and isn’t afraid to attack the basket. He was a safe pick, fits a need, and was great value for the 24th pick.
No complaining out of Knicks nation for this year’s draft.