What portion of the DNA pool that didn’t trickle down to Tim Hardaway Jr. — such as his father’s famous “UTEP two-step” crossover dribble — it made up for by giving the Michigan junior an NBA ready 6-6 frame and smooth outside stroke.
Tim Sr., a 6-0 fan favorite for the Heat and five-time NBA All-Star, allowed Tim Jr. to hone his own skill set and establish his own career path, which helped Tim Jr. get selected No. 24 overall by the New York Knicks in the NBA Draft on Thursday.
“I didn’t want to be a burden on Tim’s shoulders,” Hardaway Sr. said. “I just wanted to represent him as a parent, give him advice when necessary. I’m in the shadows. I’m not one to be in the forefront. I’m proud the job my wife and I did raising a great kid.”
The Hardaways have vastly different playing styles but they share a work ethic that allowed Hardaway Jr. to go from under-the-radar prospect at Miami Palmetto High to one of the nation’s elite wing players at Michigan.
As the ideal complement to Trey Burke, the ninth overall selection, Hardaway averaged 14.5 point and 4.6 rebounds as a junior to help the Wolverines (31-8) return to the national championship game for the first time in 20 seasons.
Hardaway’s selection puts him on the bitter Eastern Conference rival his father battled in the playoffs and should offset the possible loss of J.R. Smith, the reigning Sixth Man of the Year, who became an unrestricted free agent.
Hardaway Jr. boosted his stock at the NBA Combine in Chicago, which left predraft projections ranging from him being picked at No. 20 by USA Today to No. 29 by CBS Sports’ Matt Moore.
“Tim sacrificed his game for his team,” Hardaway Sr. said. “If he didn’t sacrifice, Michigan wouldn’t have been in the final game of the season. His talent will speak for itself on the next level. Now everybody understands the game already. His ability is going to come out a lot better than it did in college.”