We'll do plenty of discussin' about Michigan's Tim Hardaway Jr. over the Knicks few days and weeks and months. In the meantime, I reached out to a real, live Wolverine-- Maize n Brew's Zach Travis-- for a bit of insight. Here's what Zach had to say:
Tim Hardaway Jr. is, in my mind, the ultimate boom or bust prospect. He has everything you are looking for in an NBA two-guard. He is big and athletic enough to hold up offensively and defensively. His offensive game is polished as well. He can shoot the ball from outside, get into the paint to finish, and handle the ball reasonably well. Through his three years at Michigan he has fleshed out other aspects of his game and improved his defense, rebounding, and shot creation for others -- although that improvement has gotten him somewhere around average at all three aspects.
The issue is that he hasn't ever shown the type of consistency fans hoped for. Given his skills, Michigan fans always waited for a true breakout. It never came, and Hardaway Jr. spent his career as a dangerous streaky scorer that was capable of disappearing for long stretches. He might manage a quiet 12 points or so, but it would be on a lot of missed threes, and he would often settle for forcing long jumpers instead of trying to attack the basket and open up things for his outside shot. Against one of Michigan's biggest rivals, Michigan State, Hardaway put up two awful performances this last season, and his production fell off late in the NCAA tournament.
However, when Hardaway Jr. was on, there were few players capable of pouring in points as quickly and impressively as he could. He singlehandedly kept Michigan in the Ohio State game at home this year with five straight made three-pointers in the second half, and he was always a real threat to make a crucial basket in crunch time.
If Tim can find a role that allows him to focus on scoring for shorter stretches without being counted on for a large offensive load, he could be a great bench scorer and effective player. If he struggles to consistently get to the rim and open up room for his jump shot, he could wash out of the league fairly quickly. At this point it is about putting it all together -- something he hasn't ever done. The talent and athleticism is there.
I have faith that as he takes on a more ancillary role in the offense it will relieve some of the pressure and allow him to thrive as a scorer off the bench.
A more ancillary, defined role is definitely something Hardaway can look forward to as a Knick, so that's cool.
Another thing an SB Nation friend (and Michigan native/person very familiar with Hardaway) said is that Tim Jr.'s a guy who "understands his limitations" and communicates extremely well, both with teammates and the media. He sounds like an exceptionally intelligent, personable, self-aware kid, and hey, that matters!
And here's another expert's opinion: