The Dallas Mavericks have lost five of their last six games following Monday’s blowout loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored just six points on three of ten shooting from the field, and the Mavs slump has coincided with THJ’s shooting slump.
Hardaway Jr. has struggled over the last eight games as he averaged 12.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.1 steals in 34.5 minutes per game while shooting 33.3 percent from the field, 23.5 percent from 3-point range, and 69.2 percent on his free throws. The 29-year-old guard cannot find his stroke right now, and the team has gone 3-5 over that stretch.
THJ is an important shot-maker for the Mavs, and they need to get him rolling. Here is a look at why and one way the offensive changes could be hurting Hardaway Jr. more than anyone else on the team.
Dallas Mavericks need to get Tim Hardaway Jr. going
For the season, Hardaway Jr. is averaging 14.0 points on 38.0 percent shooting from the field. If it ended today, that would be the lowest field goal percentage of his career, and the fewest points he has averaged since 2016.
He is a crucial third scorer for the Mavericks. Since acquiring him in the Kristaps Porzingis trade back in 2019, Dallas has won 53.3 percent of their regular-season games. When THJ is in the lineup, they have a 54.2 winning percentage, and that number jumps to 59.2 when he scores 20 or more points. The Mavs need his scoring punch and ability to create shots to keep their offense rolling.
The 6’5 wing’s shooting is a bit of a fluke thus far. He is 17 of 58 on open 3-pointers as classified by NBA Stats or 29.3 percent. Last season, he shot 40.6 percent over 281 attempts.
Hardaway Jr. should make a few more of those going forward, but The Athletic's Tim Cato detailed his struggles at getting to the rim (subscription required). He was shooting just 9.2 percent of his shots within three feet coming into Monday’s game versus the Cavs, which was at least four percent lower than any other season in Dallas.
The change from Rick Carlisle's five-out offense to head coach Jason Kidd's scheme has shrunk the space on the floor, and Hardaway Jr. could be feeling the biggest impact from it. Teams are flooding the paint to stop Luka Doncic making it difficult for THJ and the rest of the Mavs to attack inside.
Coach Kidd and the Mavericks need to figure out how to get THJ rolling. It could be as simple as designing a few plays that create an open look at the rim for him. Fans know that Tim Hardaway Jr. can get hot in a second, but they have not seen that much this season. Getting him going is key to the Dallas Mavericks breaking out of their recent funk and getting back in the win column.