The Dallas Mavericks have a Tim Hardaway Jr. problem, and it's getting worse

Dallas Mavericks, Tim Hardaway Jr.
Dallas Mavericks, Tim Hardaway Jr. / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Later tonight, the Dallas Mavericks take on the Boston Celtics in Game 4 of the 2024 NBA Finals.

Dallas trails the Celtics 0-3 in this series, but some hope from Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving are keeping fans optimistic that Dallas can extend this series and make things interesting.

While all eyes have been on Doncic for his defensive struggles and complaining in Game 3, he is obviously not the team's biggest problem. The Mavs can't score in this series, and their lack of a third scorer has been their Achilles heel in the Finals.

The Dallas Mavericks have a Tim Hardaway Jr. problem, and it's getting worse

And that's where Tim Hardaway Jr. comes in.

At the beginning and middle of the regular season, Hardaway Jr. was playing excellent basketball. He was deep in the race for Sixth Man of the Year, and his play off the bench helped the Mavs tremendously.

He was Dallas' trusted third scorer, and you could typically count on him to come in and score 15 points and provide a spark within Dallas' second unit. Since around the trade deadline, Hardaway Jr. has been in a concerning shooting slump, and this has continued into the playoffs.

Hardaway Jr. has virtually been unplayable in the NBA Finals, and it's clear that Jason Kidd can't trust him. Kidd desperately needed a third scorer to step up in Game 3, and he rolled the dice with Hardaway Jr.

This move by Kidd ended up hurting them in the end, and Hardaway Jr. finished with zero points while shooting 0-5 from the field and 0-3 from downtown. Hardaway Jr. wasn't able to provide Kidd's offense with the spark that they needed badly, and him being unplayable is hurting the Mavs much more than anyone realizes. Kidd is doing everything he can to try to give Doncic and Irving some help on offense, but no one is stepping up to the plate.

Hardaway Jr. is the third-highest-paid player on the team, and him not even being able to make an impact in the slightest has been a huge hurdle that the Mavs have had to navigate. Kidd went deep into his bench in Game 3, but no one could provide the impact that he was looking for.

It seems unlikely that Hardaway Jr. will find his stride in this series, and the Finals could be his last games in Dallas if the Mavs look to move him this summer as they have in years past. Unfortunately for Dallas, Hardaway Jr. hasn't been the same player in months, and his struggles have only been getting worse.

Hardaway Jr. is on an expiring contract, and that could help them move him, but his struggles for the last few months have likely decreased his trade value even more.

For all the latest on Tim Hardaway Jr., Jason Kidd, and the Dallas Mavericks throughout the 2024 NBA Finals and beyond, stay tuned.