Dallas Mavericks: Tim Hardaway Jr. is best suited coming off the bench

Dallas Mavericks Tim Hardaway Jr. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)
Dallas Mavericks Tim Hardaway Jr. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Dallas Mavericks landed a big fish before last season ended, and he came with a couple guys attached to him. One of those guys is in a familiar situation with the Mavs in that he is getting paid too much, but he’s not a bad player.

The Dallas Mavericks are still trying to figure out exactly how to utilize Tim Hardaway Jr. and the first question they will need to answer is: Is he a starter or a second unit guy? This question seems simple, but there are some important factors to consider.

THJ is the 2nd highest paid player on the Mavs, behind only Kristaps Porzingis. At $18 million a year, it would be really hard to justify having him come off the bench. This was the same thing that Rick Carlisle said about Wesley Matthews when people started kicking around the idea of him coming in with the second unit.

Dallas has a handful of guys that are fairly new to the team that Carlisle will be finding minutes for, but only five guys can start. Luka Doncic and KP are both obvious starters. Dwight Powell seems like the most likely candidate to start at center, which leaves the Mavs needing to fill the two guard spots essentially.

The addition of Delon Wright makes it seem like he will be starting at the point guard position, helping Luka out defensively and giving the Mavs a secondary playmaker, but that still leaves one more spot open. A good shooter would be great for the team here, but the best remaining shooter is not Hardaway.

In my opinion, the Mavs are best off using Hardaway off the bench so he can play in his element, bulk shooting and scoring. With so many other playmakers on the team, Hardaway could get lost in the mix, but if he is coming in with the second unit, he would be able to really stick to his game and rely on the others like Maxi Kleber and Dorian Finney-Smith to work out the intangibles.

I also think it is good to have one of your best scorers as the 6th man or leader of the second unit. Hardaway would fit that mold kind of like Jason Terry used to for Dallas. Obviously THJ is no Jet, but he is still an accomplished scorer when he needs to be.

It is really hard to picture a Mavericks starting lineup with Hardaway in it that could be considered the best thing Dallas can put on the court. I am not downplaying what THJ is capable of, but the simplicity of his role off the bench could be really appealing to him as well.

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Dallas is going to have a hard time figuring out exactly how to best use Tim Hardaway Jr. and there is a good chance that they believe that will be in the starting lineup. I do not believe that personally, but it’s hard to argue with whatever Carlisle decides is best for the team.