Tim Hardaway will be part of Knicks' rotation to start season

Hardaway Jr. earns spot in Knicks' rotation

10/10/13 in NBA   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

The late first round of the NBA Draft can often be a crapshoot, but it's so far, so good for the New York Knicks and their 2013 24th overall pick. The Knicks selected a player with an NBA pedigree in Tim Hardaway Jr., but the 21-year-old was never overwhelmingly impressive during his three years at the University of Michigan. The Knicks drafted Hardaway because of his knock-down perimeter jump shot, as they are a team that hoists a great deal of three-point attempts.

Oct 9, 2013; Providence, RI, USA; New York Knicks shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. (5) shoots the ball against the Boston Celtics during the second half at Dunkin Donuts Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY SportsIt looked like Hardaway would be somewhat of a long-term project who would spend a lot of time on the bench as he developed the other aspects of his game. However, it looks like he'll start the season with a significant role on the wing for the Knicks.

When asked on Thursday about Hardaway's playing time, head coach Mike Woodson said that he expects the rookie to be part of the rotation despite the team being crowded at his position. The statement from Woodson comes on the heels of an impressive preseason debut for Hardaway, in which he scored 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting. He was second on the team in scoring and added three rebounds with only one turnover.

Hardaway will come off the bench at the start of the season behind Iman Shumpert, who will likely be the starting shooting guard on opening night. With J.R. Smith rehabbing from knee surgery and serving a five-game suspension once healthy, Hardaway will have - at the very least - five games to prove to Woodson that he deserves to keep a significant role for the entire season. He'll be a player to watch early in the year, as he will have a great opportunity to carve out some nice playing time for himself on a team that hopes to finish near the top of the Eastern Conference.
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