For two seasons, Mike Budenholzer and the Atlanta Hawks have made a habit of acquiring under the radar players and turning them into key contributors. It started with DeMarre Carroll in Budenholzer's first season and continued this season with Kent Bazemore. Atlanta's player development system will face another challenge with the acquisition of Tim Hardaway Jr.
"The ability to acquire a player who has established himself in the league after two years as somebody who can help a team, help us, and acquiring a couple of second round picks as assets as we continue to build and create flexibility in the future and opportunities in the future was a very good night for us," said head coach Mike Budenholzer as he met with media during the draft.
"You weigh what your options are and what's in front of you. We felt like adding Tim Hardaway Jr was what was best for us."
The Hawks picked up a pair of future second round picks from the Washington Wizards by trading down to No. 19. They then shipped that pick to New York for Hardaway Jr. Budenholzer is confident that Hardaway can flourish in Atlanta's player development model.
"A young two guard that's shown ability to make shots and be an effective player. I think we get him into our program, our player development program and working with our coaches and around our players we think he is going to grow and prosper here."
Hardaway enjoyed a solid shooting season as a rookie posting a line of .428/.363/.828 while averaging 10.2 points per game. He fell off this season to 39 percent shooting from the field and 34 percent from three-point range. The biggest question for him however lies on the defensive end where he has never been much of a contributor. He will likely add some offensive punch to Atlanta's lineup but the challenge will be getting him to defend enough to warrant key minutes off the bench.
"We have had our eye on him for a while," said Budenholzer. "He has been somebody that we have kind of watched."