Tim Hardaway Jr. Raises Ceiling of Dallas Mavericks

Tim Hardaway Jr.

Getty Tim Hardaway Jr. watches a 3-pointer drop against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

In their second game of the season, the Dallas Mavericks looked like a completely different team than in their opener. Following their 26-point loss to the Atlanta Hawks, they beat the Toronto Raptors by eight points. 

The Mavs looked much better defensively, holding the Raptors to under 100 points. Additionally, their offense was much more efficient, as they converted on 41.8% of their shots. 

To Luka Doncic, the difference maker against Toronto was simply energy.

“That first game, we didn’t make shots. Our energy wasn’t there,” said Doncic postgame. “That shouldn’t happen, and I think today, like I said, we stick together. We push each other.”

The player that elevated Dallas most against the Raptors was Tim Hardaway Jr., who had an outstanding second half offensively. Without his contributions, the Mavericks may not have pulled out the win.

What does Hardaway Jr. mean to this team?

Making an Impact

Against Toronto, Hardaway Jr. was on fire from beyond the arc. He went 7-of-11 from deep on his way to a 25-point night.

The Mavericks were down by six points at half, but got a huge lift from Hardaway Jr. in the second half. The veteran guard scored 22 points in the final two quarters, lifting the Mavs to the eight point victory.

His 25 points were second-most on the team behind Luka Doncic, who scored 27 on the night. However, while Doncic attempted 24 shots, Hardaway Jr. only took 16.

Scoring 25 points on just 16 shots is the efficiency that Dallas needs from him. When you’re the team’s third scoring option, making the most of each shot attempt is crucial.

Even outside of scoring, Hardaway Jr. played solid defense and even produced three rebounds and two assists.

In a game where the Mavericks wanted to make a statement and get their first win of the season, Hardaway Jr. was the MVP of the contest.

Raising the Ceiling

Hardaway Jr. clearly has the talent to make a major impact for the Mavericks on any given night. However, when looking at the bigger picture, he raises the ceiling of the team tremendously.

Last season, Dallas went 13-5 when he scored at least 20 points. Additionally, when he scored 25 points or more, they went 7-2.

Tim Hardaway Jr.

GettyTim Hardaway Jr. celebrates in a recent playoff game against the LA Clippers.

When it comes down to it, the Mavericks have a ton of success when Hardaway Jr. has it going offensively.

As the team’s third-best player, he is the swing man on many nights. When Doncic or Kristaps Porzingis are having an off night, Hardaway Jr. has the ability to carry extra weight and keep the game close with his offensive talent.

This became very clear in the playoffs last season, where he was one of the best 3-point shooters in the NBA. During the seven game run against the LA Clippers, he knocked down 23 shots from beyond the arc. His 3.3 made 3-pointers per game was fifth of any player in the postseason.

Hardaway Jr. converted on 40.4% of his 8.1 attempts in that series.

If the Mavericks are going to make a deep playoff push this season, Hardaway Jr. will be instrumental in earning a top seed as well as performing highly in the postseason itself.

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