Tim Hardaway Jr.
For those who like to keep track of Michigan sports alumni, Tim Hardaway Jr. led the Atlanta Hawks to a 114-112 OT victory over the San Antonio Spurs tonight. He tied his career high with 29 points, 9 of those in overtime, and almost single-handedly sparked the team's fourth-quarter surge.
I was at the game and Hardaway's energy, hustle, and leadership down the stretch were palpable. Despite not being a starter, he played the entire fourth quarter and overtime. He was tasked with defending Kahwi Leonard for most of the overtime period and the Spurs star was a non-factor (the only Leonard bucket I noticed came over another Hawks player). He even did a great job defending LaMarcus Aldridge in the post on a couple possessions.
He's still only 24 years old and things appear to have finally clicked for him in Atlanta. If he can keep growing at the rate he has this season, he has the potential for a long career as an offensive spark plug, similar to another Michigan alumnus, Jamal Crawford.
In his first playing time for the Pacers, GRIII made a big impact with 10 points on 3-4 shooting(4/5 FT); he also chipped in 2 boards and a steal in 19 minutes. Perhaps most importantly, he found himself on the floor with the score tied and less than a minute left against Evan Turner, Jared Sullinger and the Celtics. The preseason noise about his development might not be the mirage it appeared to be after starting the season with 4 straight DNPs.
Stauskas started again for the Sixers and currently has 14 points, 5 boards, and 2 assists in the 3rd quarter, albeit not very efficiently(5/14 FG, 3/10 3pt)
Tim Hardaway and Mitch McGary's teams are both in action tonight, although neither have played. McGary has 4 quality big men in front of him in OKC, while Tim Hardaway appears to be the literal last man off the bench for Atlanta at this point.
28 Pts, 22 Pts, and 20 Pts (in 25 MIn!).
He is also shooting 67% overall and 56% from 3! Not against exactly a murderer's row but is still pretty amazing, especially considering the minutes he is getting.
Stat Line: 24:29 Minutes 12/23 FG, 7/16 3 pt. FG, 1 REB, 2 AST, 36 points (Game High)
Both he and Dion Waiters went into a back and forth shooting frenzy with to go 8:32 in the second half. In a 5 minute stretch, Hardaway scored 22 of Team Webber's 28 points and Waiters scored 23. To anyone who stayed up to watch the end of the game it was special to watch.
David Thorpe over at ESPN keeps a list of all NBA rookies and ranks them; he updates it consistently throughout the NBA season.
He just released the new list today, and #1 is none other than Trey Burke, while Tim hardaway Jr has moved up to #3. The link is paywalled (need ESPN insider): http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/10198337/rookie-watch-trey-burke-takes-top-spot
A small excerpt from the section on Burke: "As we look forward it will be hard not to expect much more from Burke, who has found a way to dominate games despite his lack of size and elite athletic ability, because Utah's schedule will get easier (the Jazz have played the most difficult schedule in the NBA so far). Plus, Burke has proven he has the ability to improve (like he did from his freshman season to his sophomore season at Michigan), which should give Jazz fans more reason to smile."
There is more on Burke, and another section on Hardaway, so if you have ESPN Insider I think it is worth the read.
It is pretty cool to see Burke doing so well, so quickly. I hope (and expect) him to continue improving.
Courtesy of UMHoops:
According to ESPN’s Chad Ford, Hardaway has been extremely impressive at pre-draft workouts, not only competing against fellow guard prospects such as Isaiah Canaan, but besting them. Ford called Hardaway “the best player on the floor for all two hours” of a workout that he watched on Tuesday.
Hardaway has all the physical tools to be a dominant NBA player. Hopefully he can put it all together in the NBA.