After getting off to a hot start and exceeding early expectations, the Knicks have lost their last two games. Without Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr., it’s clear New York has struggled without its top dogs. They’ve failed to find a consistent offensive flow and adapting to this change in the lineup has proven difficult to do.
While Porzingis appears to be inching closer to a return, Hardaway Jr. isn’t ready to hit the hardwood again by any means. The Knicks announced that the guard will begin a rehab process for the stress injury in his left leg and will be re-evaluated in two weeks. Translation: even when Batman comes back, he’ll be without his Robin.
Much like his team, Hardaway Jr. got off to a slow start in October and the lucrative contract he signed this past summer appeared to be another misstep for an organization that has a long history of overspending on the wrong free agents. However, Hardaway Jr. became somewhat of a revelation in November, averaging 19.2 points on 44% shooting to go with 4.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists. His versatile efforts quickly proved he has indeed made strides since his first Knickerbocker stint. His streaky shooting still rears its ugly head now and then, but this time around, Hardaway Jr. remains focused on both ends of the floor and makes an impact in other ways. His value is clear.
The 25 year old’s absence has already been a problem and now New York will need to cope without him for even longer. There’s no guarantee that he’ll return after the minimally expected two weeks out. Before the team’s most recent update, the New York Post spoke with an orthopedist who said such an injury could potentially sideline Hardaway Jr. for up to two months.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Knicks will account for his missing offense and who steps up.