The Dallas Mavericks acquired Tim Hardaway Jr. from the New York Knicks as part of the Kristaps Porzingis trade back in 2019. Since the deal, THJ has gone from Knicks salary dump to a valuable piece of the Mavs puzzle. He surpassed the expectations of Dallas fans, and supporters could argue that Hardaway Jr. has been the biggest reward from the trade.
THJ has looked like a far more complete player since arriving in Dallas. He's been one of the team's most impactful players, regardless of his role.
The decision to re-sign Hardaway Jr. this offseason was critical to this squad's success, and his level of play this season will be a good indicator of how the team performs.
Why Tim Hardaway Jr. is the Dallas Mavericks biggest X-factor this year
The most impactful part of THJ's game is his shooting ability. He shot 39.8 percent from 3-point range last year and 39.1 percent in his first full season in Dallas, which makes his ability to space the floor a massive asset.
Even with new head coach Jason Kidd planning to cut down on the number of threes the team attempts, it is still necessary to have capable shooters, especially with Luka Doncic handling the ball. Hardaway Jr. is this team's best shooter, and typically the better he shoots, the better the team plays.
Something that goes hand and hand with THJ shooting prowess is his overall scoring ability. Whether he is starting or coming off the bench, Hardaway Jr. can give his team 20-plus on any given night.
Hardaway Jr. is one of the few players on the roster that can consistently create his shot. There seems to be a narrative that the Mavericks need a third scorer to take this team to the next level, but THJ can be that option. The team does not need to add anyone, assuming that Kristaps Porzingis fulfills his role as their second-star.
What truly makes Hardaway Jr. this team's X-factor is his leadership and energy. THJ is one of the oldest players on this Mavericks team, so naturally, his voice will be one of the loudest and essential. And now, with a new head coach, a veteran voice like Hardaway's becomes so much more important. He can help be a guiding light to the other players and coach Kidd at times.
THJ's energy is another thing that flies under the radar. The Mavericks have been a team that lacked energy over the past few years but one of the exceptions to that has been Hardaway Jr. The 6'5 wing is always one of the first guys to celebrate with his teammates and pump them up after a big play. He is also a walking 9-0 run as he gets hot quickly and energizing a team.
Since Tim Hardaway Jr. has been in Dallas, he's quickly grown on me and become one of my favorite players. After Luka and KP, he is the team's most important player. The Dallas Mavericks need THJ to perform almost as much as anyone else, and his success will be a good measuring stick for the team's overall success in the 2021-2022 season.