Knicks General Manager Glen Grunwald spoke to the media last night about the Knicks taking Michigan junior Tim Hardaway Jr. in the first round of last night’s draft.
According to Ian Begley of ESPN-New York, Grunwald felt that when it was the Knicks turn to pick at #24, Hardaway Jr., was the best player on the board.
“He’s a talented young player that can shoot the ball well, is a good athlete and is a really good worker,” Grunwald said.
The GM also thought Hardaway Jr. was the best player available to the Knicks when they selected at 24. That was his primary motivation for selecting Hardaway Jr. over players such as UNC forward Reggie Bullock, Murray State guard Isiah Canaan and San Diego State’s Jamal Franklin.
Grunwald did not downplay the idea that Hardaway Jr. was selected as insurance in case sixth man J.R. Smith leaves in free agency.
“It’s true we only have two players under contract at the guard position. [Help at guard] is definitely a need, but I think the primary reason we drafted him is we felt he’s the best player available the best player available,” Grunwald said.
Hardaway Jr., the son of former Warriors and Heat player Tim Hardaway, was the second leading scorer for the Wolverines and helped them reach the Final Four.
According to Begley, scouting reports on Hardaway Jr. said that he is adept at getting to the rims and creating his own shot off the dribble. Plus he can be a good defender if he is properly engaged.
The weaknesses according to the scouting reports used in the article were his shot selection and consistency. He also needs to improve his dribble as well.
My first reaction to this news was to honestly laugh at the idea that Tim Hardaway Sr., a man I despised as a player, now has a son playing for the Knicks.
I mean it’s like if Chipper Jones’ son Shea was drafted by the Mets or Tom Brady’s son was drafted by the Jets. It just feels odd knowing you will root for the offspring of a player you hated.
Once you get passed that humorous sub plot, you see that the Knicks went with best player on the board over need with this draft. This draft was full of guys who seem to be better suited a complimentary players than actual franchise cornerstones.
Hardaway was part of a very impressive team at Michigan that went on a run to a Final Four. But, he got lost in the shuffle thanks to the play of Trey Burke during that run even though he was still a key part of the team.
With the Knicks he seems to be a guy who fits along the lines of a J.R. Smith kind of player. He can play the two or the three and could be a perimeter weapon for this team going forward. He does have a really good ability, like Smith, to also attack the rim.
The big men in the draft were there at 24 like most seemed to predict but the Knicks obviously were not thrilled with what they brought to the table. The unfortunate part was that the point guards most people wanted were off the board by the time the Knicks were picking.
This organization got it right in 2011 with the Iman Shumpert pick, which a lot of people did not like, and I have a trust in them that they got this one right as well.
With the Knicks not picking in the first round again until 2015, it will take a while for them to make it up if Hardaway Jr. doesn’t pan out.
The Knicks got younger in the backcourt and now can put their focus on the free agency period and try to keep this team together for next year.