Will Mavericks wing Tim Hardaway Jr. bounce back this season?

Dallas Mavericks, Tim Hardaway Jr.
Dallas Mavericks, Tim Hardaway Jr. / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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The Dallas Mavericks needed someone to step up in the 2021 playoffs against the LA Clippers. Coach Tyronn Lue was going small around his two stars, and put Kawhi Leonard on Kristaps Porzingis. The Clippers were going to let Luka go nuclear because as long as they kept KP under wraps, LA felt they had the advantage.

Tim Hardaway Jr. answered the call for Dallas. He averaged 17.0 points per game and shot over 40 percent from 3-point range in the series as the Mavericks pushed the Clippers to seven games. It took two otherworldly performances from Kawhi to save LA in that series as Doncic was lights out.

Following that series, the Mavs shook up their front office and coaching staff, but that did not stop Hardaway Jr. from getting a four-year contract worth $75 million. He did not live up to the deal in year one, but can THJ bounce back in the 2022-23 season?

What went wrong for Dallas Mavericks wing Tim Hardaway Jr. last season?

Not only was Hardaway Jr. the team’s second-leading scorer in the playoffs, but he was viewed as a top 100 player right after signing that deal. How did he go from top 100 to being shopped at the trade deadline six months later?

Hardaway Jr. averaged 14.2 points per game last season, but he did it on 39.4 percent shooting from the field and 33.6 percent on his 3-point tries over 42 games before suffering a season-ending foot injury in January.

THJ struggled to hit jumpers, but his shot diet also changed. The 6’5 guard took a career-low percentage of his shots inside three feet, and he traded them for long twos. Those long twos, which dipped under ten percent of his total shots under Rick Carlisle, were back to 14.2 percent in Kidd’s system.

Trading the easiest shots for the league’s most inefficient will plummet a player's field goal percentage, and he also shot just 32.2 percent on his corner 3-pointers, which can be blamed on adjusting to the new ball or trying to fit into head coach Jason Kidd’s system. Here is an in-depth look at his struggles from less than a week before he suffered his season-ending injury.

How can the Dallas Mavericks get Tim Hardaway Jr. going this season?