Report Card 2011: Tim Hardaway Jr.

Dylan Burkhardt
on

MPG PPG eFG% 2FG% 3FG% APG RPG O Rtg Usage
30.7 13.9 52.0% 48.3% 36.7% 1.7 3.8 108.8 24.10%
Tim Hardaway Jr. had missed his first five shots from the field and Michigan was down nine points with under eight minutes to play. The stage was as about as small as can be for a Big Ten game, a relatively innocuous Sunday noon tip off at Penn State in front of a mere 8300 fans. Regardless of the setting, the next eight minutes transformed Tim Hardaway Jr. into a star. Hardaway went on to score 13, and assist five more, of Michigan’s final 26 points as the Wolverines stormed back to escape Happy Valley with a three point win.

Hardaway never looked back. Up until that game, the freshman wing guard averaged 11.5 points per game with a 46% effective field goal percentage. Respectable numbers but nothing compared to the 17.5 points game, and 70% eFG%, that he averaged over Michigan’s final 12 games. Suddenly Michigan was instinctively running its offense through the freshman and, time and again, he was producing. He wasn’t just making shots, he was making the most important shots. He was usually the Michigan player that would spearhead one of the Wolverines many herculean second half comebacks over the final month of the season. And he was no longer just a jump-shooter, he was creating offense for himself and others, picking up 26 of his 59 assists in that final 12 game span. A star was born before our eyes.

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The Good:

  • Clutch: Hardaway wanted the ball with the game on the line and he earned that right by making a number of big shots. He wasn’t perfect, no one is, but he made a habit of putting together second half scoring bursts that completely changed the complexion of games. If he had a slow first half, the crowd knew that a second half scoring barrage was inevitable and they were seldom disappointed.
  • Three Point Shooting: Hardaway scored 47% of his points from behind the three point line and improved his perimeter shooting as the season wore on. He struggled mightily with shot selection in the first half of the season and was shooting under 30% from distance near the end of January. His remarkable shooting performance over the final two months of the season pushed that number all the way to 37%. Hardaway connected on 44% of his three point attempts in Big Ten games and the sky appears to be the limit in regards to his three-point shooting.
  • Scoring: Hardaway is probably the only true scorer on the Michigan roster. He’s primarily a shooter but he has demonstrated other elements of his game, from mid-range to the pick and roll, which prove his scoring ability. Once he knocks down a couple threes he’s almost impossible to guard off of the pick and roll, especially as he becomes more comfortable driving the basket.

Room for Improvement

  • Creating for Others: Hardaway improved in this regard, especially as he became comfortable utilizing the pick-and-roll, but he hasn’t reached his ceiling. His assist rate was just 12% on the season which is very pedestrian, even for a primary scorer.
  • Rebounding: Hardaway isn’t a bad rebounder but he certainly has the tools to become a much better rebounder. He rebounded 12% of opponents’ misses, a number that’s similar to Manny Harris as a freshman. Harris improved his defensive rebounding rate to 19% during his sophomore year, good enough for top 10 in the Big Ten. I don’t think Hardaway needs to improve that much but he has the tools and athleticism to post a defensive rebounding rate around 15-17% during his sophomore season.
  • Attacking the Basket: It’s tough to list this as an area of improvement because Hardaway showed improvement as the season progressed. It feels like we always knew that he had the ability to attack the basket but we will see it more as his confidence continues to grow.

Bottom Line

The most impressive aspect of Tim Hardaway Jr.’s season was that we were able to see him progress so far as a player in just one year. This wasn’t offseason improvement, Hardaway became a different player from game 1 to game 12 and game 12 to game 25. He seemed to improve every time out. And he didn’t improve by using more possessions, he simply used them more efficiently. He took better shots with more confidence and transformed from jumpshooter to playmaker.

The three position in John Beilein’s offense is generally the primary shot taker and, after one season, Hardaway appears to be the perfect fit for that position. He is comfortable shooting the three, running the pick and roll and coming off of curls. The fact that he was so successful over the final month of the season leaves Michigan fans dreaming of what he can do next year.

It’s impossible to expect Hardaway to shoot as well as he did in the final month of the 2011 season. But as he improves his ball handling, passing and defensive abilities he will be able to influence the game in far more ways than he did as a freshman.

A summer in the gym with his teammates, father and USA-U19 hopefuls should do him nothing but good. The fact that Hardaway was able to improve so much during the season makes it almost impossible to expect anything but more improvement during the offseason. He has the tools, the work ethic and the opportunity. All we can do is sit back and wait to see what Hardaway adds to his game during the offseason.

  • Nick

    I can’t wait to see what THJ and Darius (assuming he returns) do to the Big Ten guards next season, especially MSU and Appling.

  • That video is incredible not just for capturing highlights, but the fire and the passion that makes Tim into ANGRY TIM!

  • YpsiTuckyBoy

    On a selfish note, I’m happy because I think he’ll probably have to stay in college until at least his Jr year. Wing scorers like him are a dime a dozen in college, and so they’re not as coveted in the NBA. For a guy like him, you essentially have to become an extremely dominant scorer to leave early. I think he could be NBA material a few years down the line, but I’m pretty confident he’ll be here a while…which I really like.

  • JB…

    http://www.detnews.com/article/20110412/SPORTS05/104120432/1049/Report–Detroit-Southeastern-basketball-standouts-will-not-attend-Dayton

    Detroit News is reporting LaDontae Henton and Percy Gibson will not attend Dayton. …any thoughts?

    • Will Wheaton

      We don’t have room….so not much to see here.

      • JB…

        I was thinking more along the lines of not wanting to see Henton end up at MSU

    • Andy

      Any thoughts as to why we weren’t hard after Gibson to begin with? Is his skill set just not where we need it? At this point, he seems more solid than Beilfeldt.

    • Johnnyumfan

      Word is that MSU offered a scholarship to Percy Gibson. Michigan wanted Gibson too but could only offer a preferred walk-on status. Will Wheaton is correct, UM has no extra scholarships for 2011.

      Hopefully, Bielfeldt is a good player, because I have seen Gibson play several times and at 6’9″, would of been a perfect backup at the 5 for Morgan.

      • Dylan Burkhardt

        Percy Gibson is not 6-9. He’s a great player and a productive player but he’s not 6-foot-9.

        • Johnnyumfan

          Gibson must be about 6’8″ then.

      • Kenny

        We already had Horford, and Bielfeldt more likely will play 4 and has some “outstanding parameter skills” that are not shown in those highlight videos.

        Regarding MSU, if Gibson takes their offer, do they still have a scholarship for Gary Harris?

        • KRN

          No they don’t.

  • Love this kid! I hope we have him for at least 2 more years. The confidence and the way he goes about his business is impressive.

  • Polisci

    Wow that is one freaking awesome video!

    • MaizeNBlueJ

      @ GregGoBlue & Polisci: Thanks guys. I really appreciate the compliments!

      • Tweeter

        yes fantastic work on the video

        • MaizeNBlueJ

          Thank you, sir.

          • FieldingBLUE

            Videos looking good, J. Nicely done.

  • junderground

    I love the video. Maize, when you do the little…I guess you’d call them “jump cuts” though they’re slightly different (one example would be the dunk at 1:22 and then the way the shot stutters right after that when he’s shooting a jumper) is that an effect on your software or are you doing that by hand?
    I really like the quick bursts of fast motion, too. This is definitely professional quality.

    • MaizeNBlueJ

      Thanks man.

      That’s all done by hand. I line the video up with the beats of the music, then I just split the video at those points and change the zoom/location of the viewable area of the video for each little clip. It’s not really that difficult once you see how it’s done initially and try it a few times..

      • Mattski

        Very cool.

  • Cner16

    8300 fans at Penn State? It looked like the attendance at that game to be more like 830.

    • Dylan Burkhardt

      Listed attendance was 8300 :-)

  • Beast1530

    THJ has more diverse skills than his dad, but doesn’t quite have the first step and ball handling though. He needs to work on ball handling and cut down on lazy turnovers. Miami has to be kicking themselves for not offering him. I would project Hardaway more of a same production from the last half of the season with a better rebounding total for next season.

  • billiam

    I’m wondering, for you smartie pants out there, about B’s offense.

    First, I honestly believe we’ll see CB out there quite a bit. But to use him effectively we’ll have to give him ball screens (see the Belein video for confirmation). THJ also uses the ball screens very well. Should we expect to see the screens a lot more next year?

    The real question is how often has coach B used the ball screens in previous years. (personally, I thought he used it a lot more last year, but I could be wrong.)

    • Tweeter

      Answering your second question first, I am not sure how much JB used ball screens at WVU and previous coaching jobs. But based on his time at Michigan, we definitely saw more use of the ball screen last year then we did in the first three years. This was largely due to the fact that we had more players that were suited to a screen roll game. Previously, it was pretty much only Manny that had the skill set to use the ball screen. We would run random ball screens throughout the offensive flow for other guys, but it was not really used for the ball handler to attack off of. Instead it would be to just open the offense, try to get a three, or used out of necessity when a pass was denied.

      This past year we had two players that we could set up ball screens for designed to get them opportunities to score or create (ThJr and Morris). With ThJr it was used much like Manny, where the floor would be spaced so the screen and roll could isolate and give our best scorer a chance. With Morris we used it a lot to create offense especially opportunities for other players, or, in late clock situations.

      As for next year, it does sound like JB wants to utilize CB in that screen roll action. The question arises as to whether that means creating isos at the two spot or using CB at the 3 from time to time? I dont know the answer to that and it will probably just come down to what is working best in games.

      Will we see more screen and rolls then we did this year? Probably more over the course of the season since it was one of the most effective weapons we had late last season, but I don’t know if we’ll see anymore in a typical game then we saw in a typical game from the late part of the season last year.

    • Kenny

      I posted this before, many evidences point to more ball screening next season. The only thing about Beilein’s past is that he is an innovator, who continuously adjust his offensive and defensive scheme to best use his talents and to confuse the opponents.

      • Dylan Burkhardt

        We ran a lot of ball screens this year. Ball screens were basically the primary offensive attack for Tim and Darius. Not sure we’ll see more but we’ll continue to see them.

        • Ratley

          I actually see a drop in ball screen offense for next year, assuming our freshman see the floor as much as I expect. I think w/ CB and burke, we have arguably the best group of 1 on 1 players since fab 5. The way we spread the offense, I don’t see as much of a need to set ball screens. I really feel these two can step in and produce. It’s gonna be exciting!

  • homeslice jones

    this young dude is tremendous. he will score many of the points next season because his total radness will propel the ball into the net. shamone

  • Mattski

    We have really got ourselves one stylin’ team. Any worries that Beilein was going to come up with some white-bread squad are long dismissed. We really look good beating people.

  • FL Wolve

    Great video. The best part about it is that there are very few 3 pointers included. Most of the highlights include Hardaway taking it to the rack which always makes a better highlight reel in my opinion.

    • MaizeNBlueJ

      Thanks man.

  • MikeSal

    He is a stud in the making. I feel like his work with the U-19 team will be similar to what DMO did practicing with John Wall. It will only make him that much better. I am interested to see if he can hold up production wise next year. He was the main slasher for us this year. Even though CB is coming in, I would anticipate THJ fills that role again next year. That pick and role with Jordan will be exciting. He is a fine athlete. Great season THJ!

  • Section13Row15

    THJ seems to have more hop in his step than anyone on the court. I think he could play a full 40 minutes for us and not even get tired.

  • M Morgan

    Maize – Can I get a highlight video of Jordan PLEASE??!! :)

    • Dylan Burkhardt

      It’s coming. Morris, Morgan, Evan and Stu are all in the pipeline and then we have a couple other surprises as well.

    • MaizeNBlueJ

      Like Dylan said, there will be one. We just got a late start, because I had to sort through 65+ hours of game footage to collect all the highlights first.

      He has all the info, so I’ll leave that part to him, but rest assured, there will most definitely be a video.

      • M Morgan

        Looking forward to it very much! Thanks for all the great work you guys do!

  • Kenny

    If THJr’s grade is A- after the midterm, he definitely get an A+ after the final. As far as him making choice of leaving early or not, I am sure that he will get the best advices available from people like Pat Riley.

  • Steve A

    Keep up the great work guys, I never thought I’d see the day where UM hoop fans would have an incredible site like this, love it!!!

  • gpsimms

    dayamn, that boy can jump. excellent video.

  • BEAST MODE

  • JD

    TH Jr. is easily my favorite Wolverine baller since the 90’s. I’m really looking forward to November!

    GO BLUE!

  • Justin

    Dylan or anybody else, do you know of a list of players who have been invited to the U19 tryouts. I’m having trouble finding one.

  • Paul F.

    Just saw on Twitter that Max B. has sent in his letter of intent to Michigan.

    • Dylan Burkhardt

      Yup. Here’s the release:
      ANN ARBOR, Mich. — University of Michigan men’s basketball head coach John Beilein announced today (Wednesday, April 13) the signing of forward Max Bielfeldt (Peoria, Ill./Peoria Notre Dame) to a National Letter of Intent.

      Bielfeldt’s signing gives Michigan three incoming freshmen for the 2011-12 season after guards Carlton Brundidge (Southfield, Mich./Southfield) and Trey Burke (Columbus, Ohio/Northland) signed their letters during the early November period.

      “We love the talent, character, toughness and work habits that Max brings to our basketball program,” said Beilein. “His size and strength at approximately 6-8, 240 should help us a great deal around the basket. Max’s high basketball IQ, shooting ability and outstanding perimeter skill level allows him to have some versatility in his game. We plan on utilizing his talent in a variety of ways.”

      Coached by Eddie Mathews, Bielfeldt averaged 22.5 points, 11.4 rebounds and 4.6 blocks during his senior season. He helped Notre Dame to a 28-1 record, including an undefeated (26-0) regular season, the school’s first outright Mid-State 6 Conference title (7-0) and a trip to the Class 3A sectional semifinal.

      Bielfeldt highlighted his senior campaign by posting 20 double-doubles and scoring a career-high 40 points against Florissant (Mo.) McCluer on Nov. 25 and tallying a career-high 19 rebounds against Champaign Central on Nov. 23. He earned MVP honors for the State Farm Tournament of Champions after setting four tournament records — total points (155), total rebounds (55), single-game scoring (40, vs. Florissant) and free throw percentage. Bielfeldt added MVP honors at the State Farm Holiday Classic and was named a Class 3A All-State first team member from the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association, the Associated Press, Chicago Sun Times, Champaign News & Gazette and the Peoria Journal Star.

      A three-year varsity starter, Bielfeldt closed his career as Notre Dame’s all-time leader in points (1,580) and rebounds (886). His point total surpassed Brian Randle, who scored 1,383 points in four varsity seasons. Randle played four seasons at Illinois (2004-07).

      • Kenny

        “Max’s high basketball IQ, shooting ability and OUTSTANDING PARAMETER SKILL level allows him to have some versatility in his game.”
        Obviously Beilein has the opportunity to observe something not in those highlight video.

        • Kenny

          “perimeter skill levels” ….

  • MichBball

    You guys need to put these videos on youtube, so we can watch them whenever we want, and we don’t need to look through pages of this blog!

  • Johnnyumfan

    THJ was outstanding the last 2 months of the season. I look forward to next year with more excitement then I have in years.

    Go Blue!

  • Freddie Ferrick

    Larry Nance Jr. a preferred walk-on????

    • Dylan Burkhardt

      Don’t think so. I know he visited Duquesne last week.

  • Adam

    I think the #1 thing Timmy needs to work on is the ball-handling. If he develops some handles that will enhance his ability to take the ball to the basket, to create for others, and to completely dominate from the 3 position. His shot making ability is incredible for a freshman. I think if he develops the ball handling he will be unstoppable.

  • Brian W

    The video was really cool. Tim had an amazing year. Hopefully he keeps working hard and starts to develop some leadership skills, so that he can be a captain his junior year.

    It’s funny what a difference a year makes. Last spring, I could have told you when the spring signing period started, but since we weren’t waiting around for someone to decide, I’d forgot it was today. I prefer it this way–less drama.

  • umwolverine88

    just imagine if his three got even better and his ball handling skills get even somewhat similar to his fathers. Now thats a player

  • I’m actually excited about the prospect of Timmy getting mentored by Tim Hardaway Sr. all summer. Show him the crossover old man!

    I just thought about THJ with his dad’s crossover and now I have to change my pants.

  • Kainkitizen

    Tim is very special. The time he was able to hang-out with his father in the NBA locker rooms and practice courts has given Jr something to strive for. He has the motivation and love to be great. He’s going to be a great Wolverine, when all said and done. Tim and the rest of the team is making the up coming season, full of post season excitement.

  • rkw

    ive watched timmy’s video 5 times in a row!Lol! cant wait for next yr!

  • BlueHOV

    Sick video. I love the fist pump at the beginning. So T-Hard.