Jr. Smith’s status of returning is unclear right now. One thing is for sure: the Knicks are in need of a second option on the offensive end. As a result, New York selected Tim Hardaway Jr., a shooting guard. General manager Glen Grunwald’s pick is a good move, as well as good insurance if Smith leaves. Hardaway Jr. can help the Knicks immediately.
The scouting report on Hardaway is that he can be a good defender when he is engaged. The biggest concerns about the former Michigan standout are his shot selection and consistency. He also needs to improve his dribble, according to several scouting reports.
Hardaway Jr is the son of Miami Heat guard Tim Hardaway from the 90’s, so he grew up a Heat fan. It’s going to be strange seeing his dad root for the Knicks. Hardaway Sr. currently serves as a scout and community liaison for the Heat. He claims he’ll be rooting for Hardaway Jr. and the Knicks from now on.
According to Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com, Hardaway Jr. said “I want to get better as a ball player throughout this whole summer, summer league and just see where that takes me. Obviously, the goal is to start but whatever the team needs me to do, I’ll do it. Whether it’s coming off the bench, a role player, whatever the case may be. I want to just try to be a contributor out there.”
The Knicks’ draft picks are vital, being the current salary cap situation tied up as it is. New York is depending on Hardaway to play a key role on the team, and Hardaway’s opportunity to be part of an NBA team in a big way is here for the taking.
The Knicks will not be able to improve in free agency too much, unless the organization can make a huge trade. Trades have the ability to bring in good talent, but you have to give up too much to do that in most cases.
So building a team through the draft and developing players in the summer league programs are the Knicks’ best option.
Knicks Summer League:
Hardaway has been added to the Knicks summer league in Las Vegas.
A league source confirmed to ESPNNewYork.com on Friday that forward C.J. Leslie N.C. State and center A.J. Matthews Farmingdale State will also play with the Knicks in Las Vegas, starting on July 12.
C.J. Leslie went undrafted and could be a value pick up. Leslie was one of the top High School players in the country, recognized for his versatility and athleticism. He played high school ball with Wizards star John Wall at Word of God Christian Academy in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Leslie is a great rebounder, which the Knicks can certainly use. Because of his potential, the Knicks are hoping to see good development in the summer league, and perhaps we will see Leslie become a contributor this coming season.
Iman Shumpert and point guard Chris Smith, brother of Jr. Smith, will be making the Knicks’ summer league squad one of the best in competition. Shumpert wants to develop his offensive game, and Smith would love to make the team to play alongside his brother.
Essentially, the Knicks have the bird rights to him. I expect Smith to resign with the Knicks, unless he gets offered a contract more than 5 million a year. Any contract below that amount, and the Knicks will likely match it. Smith’s agent and Knicks owner James Dolan have had a good relationship for the past 2 years. Smith played for 2 million, a low amount for his talent. Coach Woodson has gotten the most out of Smith in the NBA.
All this will factor in, but time will tell.