Michigan wing Tim Hardaway Jr.
was not as heralded as many of his peers in the Class of 2010, but he nonetheless had an impressive freshman campaign. He was an essential component of Michigan's turnaround and eventual NCAA Tournament run before being selected for both the All Big 10 Honorable Mention and the All-Freshman teams. He then competed in the FIBA U-19 World Championship, an experience that revealed his talents and his weaknesses against some of the world's best young players.
At 6'5 with a long and lanky 185-pound frame, Hardaway has solid size for the shooting guard position along with above average athleticism. He must continue to get stronger, however, while learning how to better utilize his physical advantages on both ends of the floor.
He had a fairly large and diverse role in Michigan's offense, playing 30.7 minutes per game and scoring 19.3 points per 40 minutes pace adjusted.
Nearly one-third of his possessions were spot-up opportunities, and he proved to be one of the most prolific and clutch shooters among all NCAA freshman
. He made 36.7% of his 8.2 three-point field goal attempts per 40 minutes pace adjusted and showed solid, albeit inconsistent mechanics, with NBA range. At this stage, he is far more effective shooting with a hand in his face off of the dribble, than with his feet set, where he makes just 29.3% of his attempts. Developing his spot-up shooting is essential, if he wishes to succeed at the next level.
While he must improve his shooting motion significantly, his questionable shot selection is a far bigger concern. 62.8% of his overall attempts are guarded and many of his attempts come fairly early in the shot clock. Considering his size, athleticism, and skill, he should be able to find better opportunities from beyond the arc and around the rim or find his open teammates.
His solid handles do allow him to find shots from the mid-range at this level, where he showed significant potential with his pull-up jump shot. He is also solid slashing to the basket making up for his lack of an elite first step with his crossover, explosiveness, and body control. His lack of strength and tendency to drive right limits him as a finisher at this stage, seen in his sub-50% 2FG, but he should only improve as he continues to develop his body.
Most of John Beilein's offense was running through either Darius Morris
or Hardaway by the end of the 2010-2011 season. Now that Morris is in the NBA, Hardaway will have far more opportunities to create, especially out of the pick-and-roll, where he looked comfortable as a freshman. Even while he looks for his offense most of the time, he is a solid passer and turns the ball over at a low rate given his usage. Whether or not he can develop as a creator for his teammates is unknown, but it would certainly improve his standing with NBA scouts.
He is a solid perimeter defender with potential to improve due to his above average lateral quickness and length. He is a good on-ball defender at this stage, though he needs to improve his awareness, particularly when guarding the pick-and-roll. He struggles to fight through screens due to his lack of strength, oftentimes losing track of his man in the process.
Hardaway had the unique opportunity as a freshman to showcase his game against some of the best young talent that the NCAA and FIBA had to offer. Now, with scouts well aware of his strengths and weaknesses, he will have to prove himself as Michigan's top returning scorer and facilitator. If he can string together another impressive year while showing improved decision making and shot selection, then Michigan should be primed for another NCAA run and Hardaway's stock will continue to rise.