- Todd Needle/Daily
By Daniel Feldman, Daily Sports Writer
Published June 25, 2013
Former Michigan guard Tim Hardaway Jr. is not his father. He doesn’t have his father’s crossover dribble – the UTEP Two-step – or his southern drawl.
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“A lot of people just know me as Tim Hardaway’s son, but I’m not trying to fill those shoes,” Hardaway Jr. said to the Big Ten Network last week. “I’m trying to fill shoes for myself.”
What he does have is his jump shot.
“Any NBA team that drafts him will love the package that they are going to get,” said Michigan coach John Beilein of his former shooting guard last week. “His daddy had the signature crossover. Tim’s will be the signature jump shot. It’s as pretty of a jump shot as I’ve ever seen.”
With the NBA Draft fast approaching, intrigue has set in on Hardaway Jr. With no clear landing spot, Hardaway is still practicing with interested teams, hoping to paint a clearer picture of where he might land. The Daily breaks down the speculation surrounding Hardaway’s potential landing spots and does some speculating of its own.
WHAT WE KNOW: At first ridiculed for his decision to come out of school a year early, Hardaway Jr. has risen up draft boards as he excelled first at the NBA Draft Combine and now in workouts for a plethora of teams interested in his service.
According to Hardaway’s Instagram account, he’s had visits with the Brooklyn Nets, Utah Jazz, Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, Indiana Pacers, Dallas Mavericks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Milwaukee Bucks and Minnesota Timberwolves. Reports have also indicated he’s had workouts with the Philadelphia 76ers, San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers.
With such a wide variety of teams, Hardaway has flown to cities all over the country showing off his jump shot and athleticism, hoping those qualities and abilities will put him over other prospects to be chosen.
According to Sports Illustrated writer Chris Mannix, who was present at the Combine, Hardaway Jr. was someone that used the event to enable his stock to rise.
“You talk about stock going up over the last day or two, Tim Hardaway Jr.’s stock has been going up,” Mannix said. “Tim Hardaway Jr. to me is a bit of a wild card. He does have the pedigree of being Tim Hardaway (Sr.’s) son, but he’s very, very raw.”
While we know what teams have shown interest in him, Hardaway has shown no indication of whom he would like to go. He has enjoyed each stop along the way of his tryout tour thoroughly, though.
WHAT WE CAN SPECULATE: It appears Hardaway has moved out of the second round and into the bottom end of the first round of the draft. ESPN analyst Chad Ford’s most recent and final mock draft has Hardaway going 25th overall to the Clippers.
While going in the first round seems more likely at this point, the exact number still seems up in the air. Though going somewhere between 15 and 40 seems more accurate of a range for him, not everyone thinks he’ll last to then.
“A lot of people haven’t seen enough of (him),” Hardaway Sr. said. “I don’t know why. Everyone was saying, ‘Well I don’t know, he’s kind of short. I don’t know if he’s tough enough.’ So I told my son that they think you are from (pick) 15 to 40. I think you are from one to 15, myself. I said, ‘You know me. I tell you the truth. I’ve got more confidence than you have in yourself.’ ”
A top-10 selection seems like a stretch, but recent rumors have speculated that the Sacramento Kings have been looking for an additional mid-first round pick. With their known interest in former Michigan guard Trey Burke, it’s not completely unreasonable for the Kings to end up with the two former Wolverines.
Though unlikely, if a team has the ability to do it, the Kings are that.
Potential Landing Spots: As scouting reports have said, Hardaway is a wild card. He has the potential to be a great shooting guard in the league. What will be the biggest thing for him is whether he’s in the right location.
Los Angeles Clippers: With Chad Ford’s most recent mock draft predicting him to go 25th to the Clippers, some thought has to go into the thought they would select him.
With Chauncey Billups more likely than not retiring or signing elsewhere, a hole has been created at the shooting guard position. While Los Angeles has former Michigan player Jamal Crawford – the last Wolverine to be a lottery selection or first round pick – he is seen more as a sixth man or instant offense for the team. The team also has Willie Green, who only started games last season when Billups was hurt in the beginning of the season.
All of other positions for the Clippers are met at the starting level, so shooting guard seems to be a priority.
Indiana Pacers: With the 23rd pick in the draft, the Pacers have the ability to go in a couple different directions. Playing to their advantage, they could look to add another big man to complement Roy Hibbert and Ian Mahinmi.
Though starting power forward David West is a free agent, early indications have pointed to him re-signing. If he is locked up and it appears he will be, the Pacers will need to look into reintroducing small forward Danny Granger into the lineup. With Paul George holding his former starting job down, Granger could see minutes at the four as the Pacers could go small, so long as one of their bigs in Hibbert or Mahinmi is on the floor.
Where the Pacers can improve is shooting guard. The team will have back the blossoming Lance Stephenson, who brought his game to a new level in the playoffs on both ends of the court. It appears likely that he will retain the starting position, but insurance behind him will be needed. With just Gerald Green behind him, another option at the two seems like a need.
Enter Hardaway Jr.
San Antonio Spurs: During the NBA Finals, a once unknown shooting guard Danny Green set the world on fire, hitting an NBA Finals record 27 3-pointers.
Originally drafted by the Cavaliers, Green was released and then signed by the Spurs before getting cut again. Green would eventually be re-signed by the Spurs and extended before the start of last season.
Green found his role with the Spurs and shined when it mattered the most. While it may not be bad for Hardaway Jr. to be drafted by a team he can have a more prominent role on, the best spot for him is a team where he can be the third to fourth scoring option.
Prediction: The Spurs may ultimately be that place for Hardaway to play, where the pressure to score isn’t always on him. They have the 28th pick, which could be earlier than they want to grab him, but his experience and shooting touch should pay off on a team that loves both assets.