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Grading the New York Knicks' Draft-Day Decision

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Grading the New York Knicks' Draft-Day Decision
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Pick: Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan Wolverines

The Tape Measure: 6'6", 200 pounds

The Stat Line: 12.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 0.7 steals, 42.9 FG% (2012-13 season)

The Draft Grade: B

Veni, vidi, vici!

The New York Knicks came, saw and conquered the 2013 NBA draft last night. Or did they?

With the No. 24 pick in Thursday’s draft, the Knicks selected Tim Hardaway Jr., son of Miami Heat guard and longtime Knicks nemesis Tim Hardaway. Yes, that Tim Hardaway.

Remember Tim’s electric crossover? Or his jawing and posing after those made playoff threes at the top of the key? Or that big fight that cost New York a shot at Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls with their loaded 1997 roster?

Breathe deeply, Knicks fans.

 

Strengths

Junior has the body of a barracuda with a stroke that will make NBA opponents seasick. Junior comes equipped with a sleeker, more agile body than his pops, a slightly better jump shot, and equal parts toughness and true grit (according to the New York Daily News).

We’ll see Junior get his minutes from the bench, with the hopes that he can become the additional scoring punch Carmelo opined for after the Pacers series.

 

Weaknesses

According to NBADraft.net, Junior isn’t a crazy-awesome athlete. Hardaway Jr. needs to hit the gym and get his weight up past the Kerry Kittles level to avoid getting bodied on a nightly basis. He’s not a speed demon, either, so Tim needs help creating space for his jump shot.

Are we looking at the second coming of Landry Fields?

 

Reason for the Pick

Don’t the Knicks already have a bench shooting guard? Right? RIGHT?

Gulp.

J.R. Smith, you are officially on the clock.

Are the Knicks really that afraid of losing Smith to free agency? A nod in the direction of this similarly built shooting guard says as much. Hardaway boasts a catch-and-shoot game similar to that of the resident North Jersey guard, finishes well on the fast break and plays a big game on the big stage.

It’s a backup plan, a reserve option in case another team overpays for J.R.’s services. The Knicks can only match up to $5.5 million in any new J.R. Smith deal with their ownership of his early-bird rights, and Smith is starting to be courted by some ignominious suitors (via Jared Zwerling and Chris Broussard of ESPN.com). If maximizing his profit margin becomes a priority, there is a chance we’ll see the reigning sixth man of the year take his talents elsewhere.

To his credit, J.R. has backed away from departure talk, instead focusing on the strides he’s made under the tutelage of Mike Woodson, among others. Still, J.R.’s quiet peace on free agency isn’t enough to erase the real fear evident at the Garden.

In some ways, this Tim Jr. pick feels like shooting-guard insurance.

Well, at least Junior’s no Mardy Collins.

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