What Will Tim Hardaway Jr.’s Role Be For The Knicks This Season

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In the first four years of New York Knicks‘ Tim Hardaway Jr.’s professional career, he started a total of 62 games. To put that into perspective, that’s not even en entire basketball season worth of games (82). The Knicks proceeded to sign a glorified reserve player to a four-year, $70.1 million contract.

If you think that’s crazy, Hardaway Jr. finished the 2018 season with a 3-point percentage of .317. He was signed primarily to be an outside shooter that can make those big-time shots… Well, that didn’t happen. His overpriced contract has left the Knicks in a hole, but his value must be extracted in 2018 to make the most of his allocated money.

New York drafted rookies Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson in the first and second rounds respectively. Both are young and looking to develop this upcoming season, which most veteran players would tend to steer clear of, but some seem to believe in the turnaround for the Knicks. The Signing of Mario Hezonja and the retention of Enes Kanter would attest to that.

What will Hardaway’s role on the Knicks be?

Veteran leadership and mentoring will ultimately be Hardaway’s task in the 2018-2019 season. Showing the young players the ropes and helping them adjust to NBA life will earn him his money. His on the court abilities have never been astounding and there’s no reason to believe they will become stellar anytime soon, so using his other attributed and progressive personality should be a great fit for the rookies.

Last season, Tim was asked to play a much more strenuous role than in previous years, as he started in 54 of 57 games on the year. The issue with Hardaway and Frank Ntilikina seem the same – both can’t manage a lot of minutes without becoming overwhelmed and eventually injured. The Knicks seem to be an ever revolving door of injuries and mishaps, but training the new crop of rookies will hopefully change the narrative that has haunted the Knicks for years. Hopefully, Hardaway can at least contribute towards that idea.