Dallas Mavericks not named Luka Doncic that will dictate playoff success: 2. THJ
The Mavs re-signed Tim Hardaway Jr. to a four-year deal worth $75 million this summer. They acquired him in the Kristaps Porzingis trade in 2019, and he quickly became a key piece of their rotation. THJ improved his outside shooting and found his ideal role playing alongside Luka in Dallas.
Hardaway Jr. is a key floor spacer, shot creator, and scorer for the Mavs, which all become more important in the playoffs. Teams are going to sell out to stop Doncic, so his supporting cast needs to step up. THJ scored over 20 points in all three of Dallas’ wins over the Clippers in the 2021 postseason, and he was held under 12 in three of the four losses.
The Mavericks need Hardaway Jr. to make wise decisions and get buckets. New head coach Jason Kidd is likely to stagger the minutes, so THJ and Kristaps Porzingis are on the floor when Luka needs a rest. The Unicorn struggles to create shots off the dribble, which makes scoring in the playoffs more difficult. Hardaway Jr. can just go out and get a bucket. The Mavs need more of that to win in the postseason.
If Tim Hardaway Jr. is dropping 20-plus, the Dallas Mavericks are likely to win, but can he consistently make it happen in the playoffs? It will be something to watch this year.