Dallas Mavericks: Tim Hardaway Jr. needs to break out of his shooting slump
By Tyler Watts
The Dallas Mavericks acquired Tim Hardaway Jr. as part of the Kristaps Porzingis trade back in Jan. 2019. Many viewed him as a throw-in so the New York Knicks could clear cap space, but the Mavs unlocked THJ by turning him into an elite catch and shoot option. Hardaway Jr. shot 39.8 percent from 3-point range last season.
Coach Rick Carlisle shifted him to bench for the majority of this season as the Mavericks looked to improve their defense in the starting five. Through his first 44 games, THJ was averaging 16.8 points per game on 45.3 percent shooting from the field and 39.7 percent on his threes. The 29-year-old was in the running for Sixth Man of the Year before he fell into a massive slump.
Over the Mavericks’ last 15 games, Hardaway Jr. is shooting just 36.0 percent from the field and 30.7 percent on his threes. His long-distance shooting drops to 28.0 percent over the last 11 games, and Dallas is under .500 during that stretch. Why is THJ struggling with his jumper?
Dallas Mavericks wing Tim Hardaway Jr. is not connecting from long range
Hardaway Jr. has not changed his shot profile much over the last two seasons. He is shooting around 40 percent on over five catch-and-shoot threes per game. The 29-year-old feasts on open triples too. The problem has been Hardaway Jr. keeps missing those attempts.
Over the last 15 games, THJ is shooting just 30 percent on 4.7 catch and shoot 3-point attempts per game. He is also 27 of 87 on open threes, defender at least four feet away, as classified by NBA Stats. The 29-year-old just cannot buy a field goal over his last 15 games. The Mavericks have won nine of those games, but Hardaway Jr. has scored in single-digits in six of the 15 contests.
Dallas needs Tim Hardaway Jr. to be their third scorer. That becomes even more important with Kristaps Porzingis out. The Unicorn has missed two straight games with an ankle sprain, but THJ is just ten of 33 from the field, including four of 19 on his threes. The Mavs need more from the 29-year-old.
Hardaway Jr. will be a key floor spacer for the Dallas Mavericks in the playoffs. They need him to get back on track over the team’s final 12 regular-season games. If THJ is making his shots in the playoffs, the Mavs will be a dangerous team that nobody will look forward to playing. Hopefully, he starts knocking down shots soon because it is just a matter of time.