Scouting Tim Hardaway Jr.

Andy Lyons

Regular readers of Maize n Brew know Tim Hardaway Jr., but with the NBA draft approaching, let's talk a little more about THJ for those who might not know him. Today, let's look at five questions our friends over at SB Nation's NBA sites sent over.

1. How is this prospect perceived on campus / how will he be remembered?

The good? As one of the integral players in Michigan's run to its first championship game in two decades. It is no secret that Michigan has been varying levels of bad at basketball for quite some time, and while Trey Burke is the face of Michigan's turnaround -- and rightfully so -- Hardaway Jr. was an important part of the recent resurgence. He was a primary scorer on three straight NCAA tournament teams, and Michigan doesn't get where it does without him.

The bad? Despite his contributions, there will always be a haze of what if? hanging over his career as he failed to really make the leap in production that everyone hoped for. After a tantalizing freshman year, Hardaway Jr. came back for two more seasons as a streaky shooter capable of scoring 20+ with ease or disappearing for long stretches. He improved his impact in other areas, but always left fans wanting a little more.

2. What anecdote or story best typifies his time at your school?

I would say his repeated dalliances with declaring for the NBA draft. After his solid freshman year he considered going, and again after his sophomore year he was briefly thought to be a potential NBA prospect. Neither year did anyone really have any idea what he would or should choose. Even this year when he weighed his decision people were on the fence whether he A) had done enough to justify a first round pick and B) would gain anything from coming back for his senior year.

And that seems to be the line on Hardaway Jr. He has a lot of potential, both physically as a 6'6 two-guard and mentally as an at times dialed in scorer. The issue has always been that the light never fully went on, and for all the time on the court that he spent looking like a potential NBA player, he also spent time looking like he graduated from the Milford School (link for those of you that don't watch Arrested Development. Shame on you.)

3. What parts of the draft evaluation coverage about the prospect do you think is wrong or missing?

I've heard a lot of positive things about Hardaway Jr. this summer. It seems that he is really impressing in his workouts and showing scouts his full offensive range. This is all very great to hear as I am a pretty big fan of THJ and want to see him have a lot of success on the next level. And as I've said above, I really believe he can. He has a great mix of athleticism and offensive weapons, and I could see him having a long and productive career in the NBA as a role player and potential starter.

The one thing that I worry is missing are questions about his ability to impact the game in different ways. He was never an elite defender at Michigan, and his rebounding got better as he got older, but was still never great. If he hits scoring ruts in the NBA, will he have enough impact elsewhere to not make him a liability? I don't know the answer to this, but I think it is a good question to ask for a player that sometimes goes cold.

4. What will fans of the NBA love and/or hate about this prospect?

When he is on, he is on. Watching Tim Hardaway Jr. break the other team's will with a barrage of threes and a well timed drive-and-dunk is a thing of beauty. You could almost tell early on in games what Tim would show up that day. If he was assertive about getting to the rim early he would gain confidence quickly and open up room to get off his outside shot. Once that happened he was a joy to watch.

However, he has a tendency to sometimes settle for pull up jumpers and long twos. I hate that. You will too.

Don't do that anymore, Tim.

5. Anything else you want to share about him?

I rag on his game a bit, but it is more out of frustration because I see how physically gifted he is as a scorer and how much potential he has to be a really good basketball player for a long time.

What I won't rag on is him as a person and teammate. He was a great guy, an awesome locker room presence, and never got into any trouble or was at odds with the coaching staff. Whatever team gets Tim Hardaway Jr. is going to get not only an intriguing scorer with a lot of potential, but also a really good person and teammate. I am really rooting hard for him to succeed at the next level, because he deserves it.

Also, maybe his dad will show up, along with his hat.

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