Written by Kenneth Teape (@teapester725)
On Thursday, the NBA released their All-Rookie teams. For the third time in four seasons, the New York Knicks had a player named to them. This time it was Tim Hardaway Jr., who follows Landry Fields in 2011 and Iman Shumpert in 2012. He was one of the sole bright spots in a poor season for the Knicks.
Hardaway Jr. had a solid rookie campaign for the Knicks, averaging 10.2 points per game as he provided surprising production off the bench. He scored in double-figures 40 times, even though he started only one of the 81 games he appeared in all season. He also shot the ball surprisingly well from the perimeter, knocking down three-pointers at a 36.3 percent clip. Coming out of Michigan, Hardaway Jr. was seen as sort of a streaky shooter, but he provided the Knicks with consistent contributions once he was given consistent playing time. He also shot 42.8 percent overall from the field, and 82.8 from the foul line. He was fourth amongst rookies in scoring and three-point percentage, and finished second in foul shot percentage.
Hardaway Jr. was a steal for the Knicks in the 2013 draft. He was selected with the 24th pick, after players such as Lucas Nogueira, Solomon Hill, Shabazz Muhammad and Sergey Karasev.
He is also a steal for the Knicks, because plenty of teams were interested in adding the Knicks young swingman in deadline deals. The Knicks turned away all overtures for Hardaway Jr., showing that they have plans for him in the future with their team. This is a different mindset than the Knicks had taken previously, as younger players were traded without much hesitation. He was also one of the players Phil Jackson was impressed with according to a source.
With Hardaway Jr. being named to the first team, he and his father Tim Hardaway Sr. became the second father/son duo to make NBA first team, joining Mychal and Klay Thompson.
While the Knicks are excited to have gotten a player with the abilities of Hardaway Jr., he does have some things to work on for next season to take the next step. He needs to improve on the defensive end of the court. Too often he was the target of opposing teams’ offensive schemes and he did little to slow them down. Also giving the Knicks a little more production in other departments, such as rebounding or assists, would go a long way.
All in all, it was a productive rookie season for Hardaway Jr. The future is bright for him, and as he continues to grow and learn as a player the Knicks should be even happier with what they unearthed with the 24th pick.
Hardaway Jr. was joined by Michael Carter-Williams (Philadelphia 76ers), Victor Oladipo (Orlando Magic), Trey Burke (Utah Jazz) and Mason Plumlee (Brooklyn Nets) on the first team. Kelly Olynyk (Boston Celtics), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks), Gorgui Deing (Minnesota Timberwolves), Cody Zeller (Charlotte Bobcats) and Steven Adams (Oklahoma City Thunder) were named to the second team.