Some of the blame for the disastrous start to the Knicks season can include injuries. Their staring center (Tyson Chandler) and point guard (Raymond Felton) have played a combined twenty games. Carmelo Anthony has picked up the rebounding slack grabbing a career high 21% of available defensive rebounds. Though without Chandler they have absolutely no presence against opposing centers. Knickerbocker fans have had very little to be happy about.
Fortunately their first round draft pick out of Michigan Tim Hardaway Jr. has been very effective. Despite falling to the 24th overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft the son of “killer crossover” has had a nice first two months to his career. He is playing 17 minutes and scoring 8 points/game. For a rookie picked late in the first round this is solid. It looks even better when compared to the start by fellow rookie Ben McLemore.
Hardaway and the Sacramento Kings rookie come from the same mold (6’5″, 200 lbs), play the same position (shooting guard), have three letters in their first name and eight each in their last name.
The difference is that twelve months ago some scouts saw McLemore as the #1 overall pick in the draft. The former Jayhawk slipped to #7 but was still considered an outstanding pure shooter and athlete. The Kings picked McLemore ahead of Trey Burke and Michael Carter-Williams.
Look at the early returns of rookie two-guards:
Tim Hardaway – 17 points/36 minutes, 60% True Shooting
Ben McLemore – 13 points/36 minutes, 46% True Shooting
This is not to say that McLemore won’t turn into an all-star guard. It simply shows how much of a pleasant surprise Hardaway has been with the Knicks.