Mar 30, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; New York Knicks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. (5) reacts against the Golden State Warriors in the fourth quarter at Oracle Arena. The Knicks won 89-84. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Can Tim Hardaway Jr. Improve Defensively?

After a decent rookie campaign, New York Knicks fans are expecting big things from second-year guard Tim Hardaway Jr.

Many fans want to see the younger Hardaway as a starter when the Knicks open up the 201-15 campaign. But in order for that to happen, a lot has to happen first.

There’s no doubting the fact that Hardaway likely is going to become a pretty competent NBA scorer, but after one season that is all he really offered the Knicks as it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that he was a pretty lousy defensive guard during his first tour around the NBA.

However that is something that Hardaway is looking to change and he feels that his time on the US Select team has gone a long way to helping him improve defensively.

First of all I give the youngster credit for realizing he has a lot of work to do to become a better player.

Secondly it is nice to see him actively working on getting better.

Hardaway wrote in his daily diary while with the US Select team:

My time with the Select Team in Las Vegas is over and, on an individual level, some of the biggest lessons I learned came on the defensive end from Team USA’s assistant coach Tom Thibodeau, which I touched on in Thursday’s diary entry.

Even though Coach Thibodeau mostly addressed the national team, I know myself and a lot of my select team teammates were definitely paying attention to his defensive teachings.

It was great to have a coach of that caliber come in and teach us. That’s one thing I really took away from USA training camp.

From a defensive standpoint, it was all in the details: keeping the ball on the side of the court, having your man squared, making sure that your hand was maneuvering with the ball so you could try to get deflections, high hands, active feet and just giving all-out energy while you were playing.

Hardaway couldn’t have a better teacher to improve as a defensive guard than Thibodeau.

Hopefully the lessons he learned translates into him becoming a complete NBA player.

If he is going to start and see major minutes for this Knicks team this season, he is going to have to.


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