Mar 29, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Michigan Wolverines guard Tim Hardaway Jr. (10) drives to the basket past Kansas Jayhawks guard Travis Releford (24) in the first half during the semifinals of the South regional of the 2013 NCAA Tournament at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
The Knicks got a steal in the draft #24 when they drafted a wing by the name of Tim Hardaway Jr. Yes. The son of the legendary point gaurd Tim Hardaway (not Penny Hardaway as many have thought on Twitter). While the Nets chose to pick Mason Plumlee to fill some of their holes, I feel that Tim Hardaway Jr. will have a bigger impact over the course of his career.
Hardaway Jr. had a stellar junior year at Michigan as he averaged 14.5 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 2.4 apg, while shooting 43% from the field and 37% from behind the arc while being the second scoring option whereas Plumlee was the first scoring option at Duke but only averaged 2.6 ppg more than Hardaway Jr.
On the offensive side of the game, where even though Plumlee averaged more points, Hardaway Jr. has more ways of scoring as he is capable of driving to the rim, shooting mid range shots, a knocking down the three ball when he is hot. Most players games when coming out of college are limited but Hardaway Jr. has fundamental skills in most aspects of the game that can be develop and make him into a much more consistent scorer and a better player on offense. Based on his skill set, it seems that Hardaway can be as good as he wants to be.
Stuck behind Iman Shumpert and JR Smith at the two guard spot, he will have to fight for every minute he’ll play for the Knicks next season.
Hardaway has explosiveness attacking the rim, which lets him shoot over traffic. The key for Hardaway Jr. in his rookie season is that he takes outside shots, which the Raymond Felton should be able to create for him instead of him having to create on his own which he can struggle with at times.
This will allow for Hardaway Jr. to learn to have better shot selection. Hardaway should also look to help expand the Knicks’ game by making occasional drives to the buckets to try and keep to opposition honest.
Mason Plumlee is more restricted to the post where he will most likely struggle against bigger and more intimidating big men in the NBA.
Currently Hardaway projects to be an offensive threat and could be a great wing reserve for the Knicks this season, but if he works on his ball handling and his footwork he should be able to grab more minutes from Mike Woodson and show what he’s capable of doing.
The key for Hardaway next season will be his shot selection.
Hardaway was infamous for his poor shot selection at Michigan and if he is able to fix that problem then the Knicks will benefit greatly. We have seen many talented players not reach their full potential because of bad sot selection (Brandon Jennings). All in all the Knicks made the right decision drafting him and this decision should payoff in the long run.
On the defensive end of the game, Hardaway Jr. is inconsistent, which is the aspect of the game where I view Plumlee as the better player. Plumlee was an elite defender in college and if he works on his conditioning so that he is capable of guarding bigger players, I don’t see why he can’t be a good defender in the NBA for the Nets.
Hardaway Jr. doesn’t always seem committed on defense but when committed he is lockdown on the perimeter as he showed in Michigan’s run to the National Championship game. Mike Woodson has turned JR Smith into a formidable defender and should be able to do the same with Hardaway Jr. I don’t see why Hardaway Jr. can’t become an Aaron Afflalo type of player; A average defender, can hit the three ball, and can finish to the rim.
Mason Plumlee will have an impact at the Nets but with his role being limited with the addition of Kevin Garnett, the re-signing of Andray Blatche, and Reggie Evans, and Brook Lopez already on the roster, I don’t see Plumlee getting many minutes at the four or the five so with a limited role it will be hard for him to break out in the league in his rookie season.