Season in review
After signing a new deal with the Mavericks to the tune of 4-years and $75 million, Tim Hardaway Jr. played just 42 games in the 2021-22 season and averaged 14.2 points on 39% shooting, while grabbing 3.7 rebounds and dishing 2.2 assists per game. His points per game and field goal percentage were his lowest during his time in Dallas, while he posted over two assists for the first time in a Maverick uniform.
In the 48th game of the regular season against Golden State on January 25, Hardaway went down following a fastbreak attempt in what would later be labeled a fracture of his fifth metatarsal. He was labeled as out indefinitely and would not return in the 2022 portion of the season, including the playoffs.
It was an unfortunate event for Hardaway. He took somewhat of a discount to stay a Maverick (he turned down a 4-year, $88 million contract from the Pelicans) then followed up playing what should be considered his least consistent basketball since arriving in Dallas. Under Jason Kidd, those with ball handling abilities were seemingly encouraged to play make more and Hardaway’s shooting struggled.
He shot worse off the bounce and shot worse off of catch and shoot, thus negating a lot of what made him such a useful player in Dallas the previous two seasons. His 33.6% shooting on three point shots represented a 5.5% drop from his numbers in the 2020-21 season. Of course, Hardaway was not alone in his first half of the year three point struggles, but he would not get another chance to round into form.
It’s got to be a tie between the second game of the season, where the Mavericks beat what would become a very good Toronto Raptors team or an early December game against the Grizzlies where Dallas lost, but Hardaway found his shot.
Against the Raptors he poured in 25 points on 7-of-11 three point shooting, which would end up being his best three point shooting game of the entire season. Versus the Grizzlies he went a putrid 2-of-9 in the first three quarters, then tried to will Dallas back into the game by getting to the free throw line (he shot 14 in the game). After that, shots finally started falling. The Mavericks came up short but it was the kind of crazy microwave performance from a scorer that the Mavericks missed until Spencer Dinwiddie arrived.
Hardaway will be entering year two of his $75 million deal. One interesting aspect of his contract is that it’s a declining deal; after making $21 million in 2021-22, he’ll be making $19.6 million in 2022-23.
It’s unclear what his role on this team moving forward is, but one would expect his time with the team, his positive contribution to team chemistry, and scoring ability is of great value to the Mavericks. However, the team is also capped out and a shooter with a declining contract could be something a team interesting in reworking their roster might be interested in.
Though 42 games, Tim Hardaway was a C at best. He was not very good this season compared to years past. And there’s something to be considered that Reggie Bullock took off when he assumed the bulk of Hardaway’s minutes. But Hardaway can be a valuable player, after all he earned himself a huge contract again after being considered an albatross of sorts during the trade for Kristaps Porzingis. Perhaps next year, if he’s with the Mavericks, the coaching staff can find him a role suitable for how they want to play. By season’s end, it was very apparent Dallas simply needed more capable bodies and Hardaway certainly qualifies.