New York Knicks: Best players to wear #3 jersey

Nerlens Noel, New York Knicks (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Nerlens Noel, New York Knicks (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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Tim Hardaway Jr., New York Knicks. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Knicks’ #3 – Tim Hardaway Jr.

It’s hard to come to grips with the facts, but there haven’t been many great players that have wore #3 for the Knicks. When Tim Hardaway Jr. was drafted by the team in 2013 with the 24th pick, he chose to wear #5, the same number his dad, Tim Hardaway Sr., wore in his rookie season with the Warriors, since #10 was retired (Walt Frazier).

After a promising rooking season, his sophomore season was a disappointment. It was also rumored that he didn’t get along with Carmelo Anthony. Phil Jackson promptly traded Hardaway on draft night 2015 to Atlanta for the 19th pick, which was used to draft Jerian Grant.

After a bad first season with the Hawks, Hardaway was sent to the G-League. That is where he turned his career around and had a good second season for then-coach Mike Budenholzer. He averaged 14.5 ppg on a good Hawks team.

It was enough for then-interim Knicks’ president Steve Mills to bid way above market value for the restricted free agent in 2017. Essentially setting Hardaway Jr. up for life with a 4 yr./$71M contract. Hardaway returned to the Knicks wearing #3 since his old number now belonged to Courtney Lee.

To Hardaway’s credit, he did play well as the 2nd option to Kristaps Porzingis, averaging 17.5 ppg while playing out of position at small forward. But he couldn’t live up to the contract once Porzingis tore his ACL. In his 1 1/2 seasons wearing #3 for the Knicks Hardaway averaged over 18ppg. But was included in the Porginzis trade to Dallas as a salary dump.

Hardaway has done well in Dallas as he is playing his natural position, shooting guard, and is no longer asked to be the engine of the offense. He is now in a great role, 3rd option behind Luka Doncic and Porzingis. Ironically, he is on the last year of the contract the Knicks signed him to in 2017.