Tim Hardaway Jr. ready to help Knicks any way he can
GREENBURGH, N.Y. - Tim Hardaway Jr. said he was about 12 years old when he passed his father in height. But he's not trying to measure up to his more famous dad now.
Hardaway hopes to make a name for himself in the pros and could get an opportunity pretty quickly. The Knicks used the No. 24 pick in Thursday's draft on Hardaway, a 6-6 guard out of Michigan with some ready-made skills, including shooting and defense.
"I'm ready," Hardaway said Friday at the Knicks' practice facility. "Whatever the team needs me to do. I'm going to sacrifice my body; whatever I need to do for the team. We have a lot of veterans on the team as well. I'm going to take advantage of the opportunity, just ask questions to make me a better ballplayer than I am right now."
It was somewhat surreal to see his dad -- a former All-Star guard with the Miami Heat, among other teams, who had many battles against the Knicks -- walk out of the trainers' room.
The senior Hardaway is a community liaison and scout for the Heat, but on Friday he was in the Knicks' locker room chatting with assistant general manager Allan Houston and standing with his son as he held his new No. 5 jersey
"It's very ironic," Hardaway Sr. said. "The years that I played and the rivalry that we had, now it's coming full circle. My son is going to play for the Knicks. I'm very happy for him.
"It's not about me. It's about him. Even though I work for the Miami Heat, I can root for the Knicks. When they play against us, I don't know. That question has been asked many, many, many times and I don't know."
Hardaway Jr. is coming into a good situation because the Knicks have a need at wing. Only two of their seven players under contract are guards and there is no guarantee that free agent J.R. Smith will return.
But Hardaway knows nothing is promised to him. He has to earn his minutes on this veteran team. He said he can't wait until summer league practices start so he can begin the process of showing how he can help the Knicks.
"It's a blessing to be in that situation," he said. "A lot of guys don't have an opportunity to play with veterans. You definitely want to take advantage of that opportunity, especially for a team that's starting to make the playoffs consecutively. You have a chance to do something special and you just want to be a part of it."
Of course he will be compared to his dad, but Hardaway said there are many differences. He's more athletic, for one.
"He's short and stubby," Hardaway said. "I'm not the same as my father. First of all, he's 5-11, I'm 6-6. We play two different positions. One shoots better than the other, the other handles the ball better than the other.
"He can tell you right now there's no comparison at all. You got to go out there and make a name for yourself. That's what he wants me to do. That's what I want to do."
Notes & quotes: The Knicks reached agreement with undrafted 6-9 forward C.J. Leslie, who averaged 15.1 points and 7.4 rebounds as an N.C. State junior . . . The Knicks reportedly have invited Farmingdale State center AJ Matthews to play on their summer league team in Las Vegas.