The Atlanta Hawks decision to trade the 19th pick in the 2015 Draft to the New York Knicks for Tim Hardaway Jr. is one of the more controversial moves the team made over the offseason. While Mike Budenholzer and Wes Wilcox have identified Hardaway as a player they have had their eyes on for some time, his progress has been a bit slow so far this preseason.
Hardaway came into Wednesday's game just 6-25 from the field. He saw extended minutes against the Heat but was just 2-8 from the field finishing with seven points and six rebounds. As you can see, he has struggled to make shots all over the floor.
Prior to the preseason, Hardaway talked about playing in the Hawks' system after running the triangle in New York. He talked about how the Triangle was always on your mind and that one of the biggest differences in Atlanta was the free flowing nature on offense. While that is true, there are concepts and reads that players must make in Budenholzer's system and Hardaway currently looks like a player that is thinking a bit too much rather than simply reacting.
Despite his struggles, Hardaway looks like a good bet to see minutes in Atlanta's rotation once the regular season begins. As was mentioned earlier, the Hawks paid a heavy price to acquire him so he will likely get ample opportunities to prove he can do the job.
Atlanta took a similar tact with Thabo Sefolosha, who struggled out of the gate last season. Sefolosha was shooting just 37 percent from the field and was just 2-for-20 from three-point range through November. The coaching staff stuck with him, and he upped those percentages to 44 percent shooting in December while knocking down 37 percent of his long-range attempts.
Atlanta's other major wing acquisition Justin Holiday has also struggled going 2-for-17 from the field in four preseason games.
So expect the Hawks to show patience with Hardaway and to continue to bring him along slowly even while he is struggling offensively. To his credit, Atlanta has performed well defensively during the preseason with him on the floor. IIf that carries over into the regular season, then it will be easier to live with some of the growing pains offensively.