Just in case Chris Copeland, J.R. Smith, and Pablo Prigioni end up missing in action next season, or if the The New York Knicks fail to match any lucrative offer that these players may receive on the open market, the team has found their hope and assurance in shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr., who was selected during last Thursday’s NBA Draft.
Suprisingly, many fans, including Spike Lee, couldn’t agree more with the newest edition to the team, as it is quite unusual for fans to cheer for any draft pick.
Knick’s GM Glen Grunwald seemed quite confident in the shooting guard’s future contributions to the team, when he used the Knick’s first-round pick, at No. 24, to pick the junior from Michigan.
“We only have two players under contract next year at the guard position; it’s definitely a need, “Grunwald said. “The primary reason we drafted him was we felt he was the best player available.
Grunwald and scouters agreed that it was the shooting guard’s great shooting, athelticism, and overall demeanor that made him such a desirable draft prospect for the team, not to mention a great fit for coach Mike Woodson’s game style.
In fact, Hardaway was one of the best 3-point shooters at Michigan, averaging a total of 14.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per game last season. He also became a very important asset to his team when he helped Michigan get to the NCAA title game for the first time in two decades.
And the Knick’s newest rookie isn’t a stranger to the league. Ironically, his dad, Tim Hardaway Sr., was a former point guard for the Knick’s rival, The Miami Heat.
So while the rivals do come full circle, it seems as though Hardaway Sr. is going to have a bit of a dilemma on his hands when choosing who he will root for when the two teams face each other.
“When they play against us I dont know. That question has been asked many, many, many times and I dont know,” said the former Heat guard.
While the younger Hardaway gazes in amazement at his No. 5 Knicks jersey in hand, he laughs and says he cant wait to see the facial expressions he will get when he heads back home to Miami.
But despite the mixed feelings that may come his way from others, he knows for sure that his father supports him all the way.
It’s ironic but it’s not akward at all,” Tim Jr. said. “He’s happy for me, whatever team I went to.”
And while some may want to mention the proverb, “like father, like son” in this situation, it isnt quite so.
While they both share the same last name, there are several differences in their game and physique that Hardaway Jr. wants everyone to be aware of.
“I can shoot it, [and] can get my own shot,” said Hardaway Jr. “I’m more athletic, though. He’s short and stubby. I’m definitely not the same as my father. He’s 5-foot-11. I’m 6-foot-6. We’re two different positions. One shoots better than the other, [while] one handles the ball better than the other. He can tell you right now there’s no comparison at all.”
So what does drafting Tim Hardaway Jr. mean for the future of the Knicks? Only time will tell. It may strenghten the Knick’s game overall, as Hardaway Jr. takes on the wing position to complement Carmelo Anthony at power forward.
On the other hand, it may also be farewell to J.R. Smith come next month.