When the Mavericks traded for Kristaps Porzingis a few seasons ago it was thought by many reporters in the industry that Tim Hardaway Jr. was a throw-in player. Knicks fans and analysts were very vocal about Hardaway Jr. being a salary dump for the team so they could move on and sign bigger free agents like Kevin Durant (that didn’t work out very well) and Julius Randle (this one seems to be working out swimmingly). In his time with the Mavericks though, he’s proven to not only be worth his original contract but also worth a second contract, a long-term one at that. THJ’s new contract will keep him in blue until the end of 2024-2025. Tim’s fiery attitude and penchant for hitting important three pointers have secured his spot as a fan favorite and has the potential to be the team’s number 2 option behind Luka.
“…I knew and my agent knew that I wanted to be in Dallas. I’m pretty sure the fans knew that as well. Just tried to do the best we could to figure out a situation where I could stay be a part of something special.”-Tim Hardaway Jr
His position alongside Luka Doncic is very reminiscent of a previous Dallas Maverick fan favorite player, the Larry O’Brien tattooed sidekick to Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry. The comparison between the two players doesn’t stop at their place on the team though. Terry and Hardaway have some key similarities that will hopefully aid in Dallas’ search for a championship.
Hardaway is heading into his 3rd full season with the Mavericks, his 8th in the NBA. Coincidentally, in Terry’s 3rd season with the Mavericks he was also in his 8th season in the NBA. Terry had his highest 3pt % of his career that year at 43%. To that point in their respective careers their shooting percentages are similar with Tim slightly lagging behind Terry in shooting percentages and minutes per game but is on par with Terry’s career average of 13 ppg. You can reasonably assume that number will rise for THJ after the upcoming season. With less playing time Hardaway has managed to
There’s also a major similarity in the way that THJ handles himself when compared to JET. Hardaway gets angry on the court just as Terry did. Getting angry is one thing but being able to use that emotion is a completely different monster. There are very few players who perform at a higher level when they play with emotion, THJ and JET both have that talent.
Hardaway’s steady progression as a second scorer behind Luka should give fans hope that the Larry O’Brien trophy could make it’s way back to Dallas and not just in the form of a tattoo. If that throw-in player the Mavericks got in the Hardaway Jr trade starts to meet his potential as well this Mavericks team will be special.