NBA Combine Interviews: Muhammad, Rice, Bullock, Hardaway May 17, 2013
[Read Full Article] Top NBA Draft Prospects in the Big Ten, Part Five (#16-20) September 15, 2012
After an impressive freshman season in which he significantly exceeded expectations, Tim Hardaway Jr was unable to take the next step in his development as a sophomore. Hardaway improved his shooting percentages inside the arc (48.3 to 53.5%), but regressed with his outside shooting (36.7% to 28.3%), otherwise posting an extremely similar stat line as compared to his freshman year.
Similar to his statistical output, Hardaway also looks like the same player from a skills perspective, though his drop in scoring efficiency from three-point range was the most noticeable and most concerning development in his sophomore campaign. After shooting a solid 36.7% as a freshman (buoyed by the high percentage of shots he takes off the dribble), Hardaway fell to a disappointing 28.3% as a sophomore, not entirely unsurprising given his inconsistent mechanics and style of play.
Hardaway continues to have the strange distinction of being a more efficient shooter off the dribble than spotting up, as he hits for a superb 1.012 points per shot on pull-ups as opposed to a below average 0.816 points per shot on catch-and-shoot jumpers. Improving his spot-up jumper is still the most important thing he can do to improve his game, as we pointed out the last time we profiled him.
While Hardaway clearly possesses strong shot-making ability and shows flashes of being a deadly shooter inside and outside the arc, he struggles to consistently display the same mechanics, though it's certainly something he can improve on. Hardaway establishes a much better rhythm shooting the ball when he's coming off the dribble and stepping into his shot, doing a better job to keep his body upright and his feet underneath him. He doesn't exhibit the same balance or get his lower body into the shot when he's spotting up, and trying to translate that aspect of his off-the-dribble shot to his catch-and-shoot shot is likely the key to becoming a more consistent and versatile shooter.
In terms of attacking the basket, Hardaway still does a good job creating separation and getting to the basket with the ball, but his ability to finish when contested by weak side defenders remains a sore point. While he shows good touch and the ability to finish difficult shots in the lane at times, he doesn't do a good job finishing through contact and seems to suffer from a still lanky build that hasn't yet reached its full potential.
Hardaway's ability to create separation for pull-up jumpers from the mid-range is his most useful offensive weapon at this stage, and he does a good job doing so out of both isolations and pick-and-rolls. Hardaway also made some slight strides this season with his passing game, increasing his pace adjusted per 40 minute assists from 2.3 to 2.7 per game and showing a good feel for making simple drive-and-dishes after penetrating into the lane and drawing the defense.
On the defensive end, the story was the same for Hardaway as a sophomore, as he has all the tools to be a very good defender at the shooting guard position, and even is at times, but he still needs to improve his consistency and play at a high level on every possession. He looks strong matching up in isolation, showing a good stance and lateral quickness, and even made some improvements fighting through screens on pick-and-rolls, but is prone to lagging off his man off the ball at times and not always putting in full effort on every play.
Looking forward, Hardaway clearly brings an intriguing package of tools to the table with his athletic tools, shot-making abilities, and defensive potential, but he needs to become more consistent in all aspects of his game. Hardaway has a lot of room to improve with his three-point shooting, and would benefit himself greatly not only return to, but also exceed his freshman shooting numbers from behind the arc this year. It would be a big boon to both his draft stock and to open up the rest of his offensive game, and will likely be critical to his chances at finding a long-term niche in the NBA down the road. [Read Full Article]
Top NBA Draft Prospects in the Big Ten, Part Three (#11-15) September 12, 2011
Michigan wing Tim Hardaway Jr. was not as heralded as many of his peers in the Class of 2010, but he nonetheless had an impressive freshman campaign. He was an essential component of Michigan's turnaround and eventual NCAA Tournament run before being selected for both the All Big 10 Honorable Mention and the All-Freshman teams. He then competed in the FIBA U-19 World Championship, an experience that revealed his talents and his weaknesses against some of the world's best young players.
At 6'5 with a long and lanky 185-pound frame, Hardaway has solid size for the shooting guard position along with above average athleticism. He must continue to get stronger, however, while learning how to better utilize his physical advantages on both ends of the floor.
He had a fairly large and diverse role in Michigan's offense, playing 30.7 minutes per game and scoring 19.3 points per 40 minutes pace adjusted.
Nearly one-third of his possessions were spot-up opportunities, and he proved to be one of the most prolific and clutch shooters among all NCAA freshman. He made 36.7% of his 8.2 three-point field goal attempts per 40 minutes pace adjusted and showed solid, albeit inconsistent mechanics, with NBA range. At this stage, he is far more effective shooting with a hand in his face off of the dribble, than with his feet set, where he makes just 29.3% of his attempts. Developing his spot-up shooting is essential, if he wishes to succeed at the next level.
While he must improve his shooting motion significantly, his questionable shot selection is a far bigger concern. 62.8% of his overall attempts are guarded and many of his attempts come fairly early in the shot clock. Considering his size, athleticism, and skill, he should be able to find better opportunities from beyond the arc and around the rim or find his open teammates.
His solid handles do allow him to find shots from the mid-range at this level, where he showed significant potential with his pull-up jump shot. He is also solid slashing to the basket making up for his lack of an elite first step with his crossover, explosiveness, and body control. His lack of strength and tendency to drive right limits him as a finisher at this stage, seen in his sub-50% 2FG, but he should only improve as he continues to develop his body.
Most of John Beilein's offense was running through either Darius Morris or Hardaway by the end of the 2010-2011 season. Now that Morris is in the NBA, Hardaway will have far more opportunities to create, especially out of the pick-and-roll, where he looked comfortable as a freshman. Even while he looks for his offense most of the time, he is a solid passer and turns the ball over at a low rate given his usage. Whether or not he can develop as a creator for his teammates is unknown, but it would certainly improve his standing with NBA scouts.
He is a solid perimeter defender with potential to improve due to his above average lateral quickness and length. He is a good on-ball defender at this stage, though he needs to improve his awareness, particularly when guarding the pick-and-roll. He struggles to fight through screens due to his lack of strength, oftentimes losing track of his man in the process.
Hardaway had the unique opportunity as a freshman to showcase his game against some of the best young talent that the NCAA and FIBA had to offer. Now, with scouts well aware of his strengths and weaknesses, he will have to prove himself as Michigan's top returning scorer and facilitator. If he can string together another impressive year while showing improved decision making and shot selection, then Michigan should be primed for another NCAA run and Hardaway's stock will continue to rise. [Read Full Article]