By Taylor Armosino, Knicks fan since '03
In last Thursday's draft, the Knicks drafted Michigan shooting guard Tim Hardaway, Jr. with the 24th overall pick. Let's break down how he fits in with the team.
It's not hard to see why Hardaway, Jr. was appealing to the Knicks. He's a big, athletic two guard with range on his jump shot and 107 career games played at Michigan. Given the organization's focus on building a contender, the Knicks wanted to bring in a prospect that had the ability to come in and contribute sooner than later. Hardaway can do that.
Assuming New York sticks with its spread pick-and-roll attack, Hardaway's main role on offense could be as a spot-up shooter. His senior season at Michigan, he hit 37.4 percent of his threes. Even when his shot is not falling, his NBA range should be enough to make defenses respect him.
He possesses the athleticism to get good looks when defenders close out on him; he loves the pull-up jump shot and can also get to the rim a little bit. One of the big appeals in drafting Hardaway was the fact that he does have some versatility in his offensive game.
At 6-foot-6, he has the size to potentially slide to the 3 position in a super-small lineup. In the New York offense, the 2 and 3 spots are essentially interchangeable -- both spots serve as floor spacers -- making for some interesting lineup possibilities. Coach Woodson will have a lot of versatility in what he can do.
On defense, he has the tools to become a good defender. He's competitive and takes pride on that end of the floor, on top of all the other measurables. His height and athleticism will allow him to fit into the Knicks switch-and-chase defense, where he'll be switching assignments with teammates on screens. He has good quickness, which will allow him to survive defending in 1-on-1 situations.
Hardaway possesses a lot of traits that will allow him to fit in with the Knicks. He's tall enough to create mismatches on offense and switch on defense, and he can shoot with legit NBA range and he can create his own shot in spot-up situations. He was drafted to contribute right away, so expect him to get a chance to play early and often.
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