Projecting Tim Hardaway Jr’s Rookie Season

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The Knicks rookie wing, Tim Hardaway Jr.

Tim Hardaway Jr. could be a huge asset to the New York Knicks’ second unit next season.

In Hardaway’s junior season at Michigan he averaged 14.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists per game, while shooting a solid 37 percent from behind the arc.

He will most likely fit into the second unit alongside J.R. Smith and Amar’e Stoudemire so he will be learning the ropes from some experienced and talented players and after watching him succeed at Michigan like he did last season.

Based on his skill set, it seems that Hardaway can be as good as he wants to be.

Stuck behind Iman Shumpert and Smith at the 2-guard spot, he will have to fight for every minute he’ll play for the Knicks next season.

Hardaway has explosiveness attacking the rim, which lets him shoot over traffic. The key for Hardaway Jr. in his rookie season is that he takes outside shots, which the Knicks point guards should be able to create for him instead of him having to create on his own.

This will allow for Hardaway Jr. to learn to take better shots. Hardaway should also look to help expand the Knicks’ game by making occasional drives to the buckets to try and keep to opposition guessing.

Currently Hardaway projects to be an offensive threat and could be a great wing reserve for the Knicks this season, but if he works on his dribbling and his footwork he should be able to grab more minutes and should what he’s capable of doing properly, which is why I’m projecting his stat line to be: 15 MPG, 10.3 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 1.3 APG, while shooting 39 percent from behind the arc, and 46 percent from the field.

The key for Hardaway next season will be his shot selection.

Hardaway was infamous for his poor shot selection at Michigan and if he is able to fix that problem then the Knicks will benefit greatly but all in all the Knicks made the right decision drafting him and this decision should payoff in the long run.

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Ivan Nova’s Comeback

Nova has had his ups and downs in his MLB career. Could he be on the right track now?
Nova has had his ups and downs in his MLB career. Could he be on the right track now?

As a rookie, Ivan Nova was known by the fans as “supernova.” He dazzled the fans all across America with his curveball and his great control but then it all went downhill. Ivan Nova finished last season with a 12-8 record.

Not so bad right? Wrong.

Nova had an ERA of 5.02 and opposition batters were hitting .288 against him. The struggle continued for Nova at the start of this season as he was soon sent down to Triple-A. Nova dazzled in Triple-A going 2-0 with an ERA of 2.04.

To many Yankee fans’ dismay, Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi decided to recall Nova back to the majors and so far it has been a second coming for him. Nova has been back from Triple-A and has been playing out of his skin only allowing 8 ER over 4 starts. Before Nova was sent down to Triple-A his ERA was an abysmal 4.93, whereas now he has brought it down to 3.63 and has got his record up to 4-2.

What Nova has done no one knows but when watching him pitch at his old dominant self once again has been nothing short of special for Yankee fans. The Yankees have been reliant on their pitching rotation this season and another arm being added will do them good in the long run.

Many Yankee fans were calling for Nova’s head when he was pitching last season and at the beginning of this season but with the recent turnaround in his pitching, it seems that Phil Hughes is the man that everyone wants out of the Bronx for his inconsistent pitching. Who knows, maybe a stint in the minors could help him out too.

If this is a sign that Nova is back to his old self (rookie season) then the Yankees fans should be excited as it would mean that not only do they have another arm added to the rotation, they also have Michael Pineda coming back soon and by a pitching standpoint, it only gets better.

Yankees Second Half Checklist

Minor league prospect, J.R Murphy.
Minor league prospect, J.R Murphy.

The Yankees are going to need a stroke of luck to be in contention for another AL East title but it is still not completely out of their reach. Here are some of the keys for the Yankees to stay in the mix in the second half of the season.

Pitching is key
If The Yankees stand any chance of making at least a wildcard spot in the AL, then it will be done behind their starting pitching. Sabathia, Pettitte, and Hughes have been as inconsistent as ever. With Nova and Kuroda stepping up their game, the others must also and with Michael Pineda coming back from the DL, it will provide competition for the other starters. Sabathia has not looked like an ace at all this year and the starting pitching will revolve around him. If Sabathia steps up so will the others, he is the leader and should lead by example. Andy Pettitte had an amazing start to the season but it proved to be too good to be true as his form has started to plummet and he does not even look like the pitcher he was last year. If Pettitte can not raise his game then he should be focused on helping younger players such as Pineda or Nova (yes. Hughes is a lost cause). If the Yankees starting pitching rotation should look a little something like this if they want to make the wild card at minimum: 1. CC Sabathia 2. Hiroki Kuroda 3. Ivan Nova 4. Michael Pineda 5. Andy Pettitte.

Before the deadline get an everyday infielder
So far this season the Yankees have had three different players play 3B (Kevin Youkilis, David Adams, and Luis Cruz) and will have a fourth in Alex Rodriguez once he returns. At SS there have been four players who have taken the field in Derek Jeter, Jayson Nix, Luis Cruz, and Alberto Gonzalez. My point throughout this is that the Yankees need another everyday infielder to help out Robinson Cano and Derek Jeter (once he returns). Some players that the Yankees seem to be in the hunt for are Placido Polanco and Michael Young who would both be veterans that could help serve a consistent role at the corner infield spot. By the time the deadline has passed the infield should look a little something like this 1B Lyle Overbay 2B Robinson Cano SS Derek Jeter 3B Placido Polanco/Michael Young.

Call up J.R Murphy
The Yankees can not be serious playing Austin Romine and Chris Stewart as everyday catchers when a great prospect who is tearing it up in Scranton is itching to be called up. J.R Murphy is a solid catcher prospect for the Yankees and with Gary Sanchez climbing up the ranks it seems like a huge possibility that those two could be the catchers for the Yankees come opening day in 2014. Murphy is a solid hitter that has been tearing up the minors and in all honesty, Chris Stewart and Austin Romine aren’t anywhere near his level and they are both players with too much MLB experience. I can’t imagine the Yankees attempting to trade for a catcher with Cervelli coming back, but as a short term option J.R Murphy is a great option.

Trade Curtis Granderson
The Yankees have been been solid in the outfield with Zoilo Almonte, Ichiro Suzuki, Vernon Wells, and Brett Gardner picking up the slack for the Yankees while their main man in the outfield, Curtis Granderson has been on the DL for much of the season. The Yankees should look to send Granderson and his contract to another team in hopes of a good deal. The Yankees best option is to package Granderson, Chris Stewart, Jayson Nix, and Phil Hughes for Giancarlo Stanton and Placido Polanco. This deal would work on both ends as it would give the Yankees a slugger in the outfield, and as I stated before, a reliable corner infielder. This deal would work for the Marlins as it would give them four solid players and Phil Hughes would be hit around so much in the NL so he could prove to be an excellent replacement for Ricky Nolasco who left Miami to go to LA.

Metta World Peace Is a Knick

Metta World Peace taking shot over Knicks SG, JR Smith.
Metta World Peace taking shot over Knicks SG, JR Smith.

It’s official.

Metta World Peace is officially a member of the New York Knicks and is coming home to the Big Apple after agreeing to a two-year contract on Monday.

The Queens native was amnestied by the Los Angeles Lakers and after clearing waivers on Sunday, World Peace became an unrestricted free agent. The deal will reportedly take up the rest of the Knicks’ tax payer mid-level exception ($1.6 million) for this season, which now means that the Knicks will only have veteran minimum contracts that they can offer to players.

World Peace will also have a player option in his second year of his contract with New York.

He will bring defensive tenacity at the three and will provide a strong presence on the glass, which is something that the Knicks were looking to bring in to help Tyson Chandler.

Not only will World Peace be a big contributor on the defensive end, but also on the offensive end as he averaged 12.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 1.6 spg, 1.5 apg, while shooting 40 percent from the field and 34 percent from behind the arc last season with the Lakers.

Many now expect that World Peace will be in the starting lineup at the three and Knicks’ head coach Mike Woodson will keep superstar Carmelo Anthony at the four.

World Peace did not wait to take a stab at the rivals across the river and once the deal was announced he sent out this tweet, which is sure to grab some headlines:

World Peace sent out this tweet, which is sure to add a spark to the rivalry.
World Peace sent out this tweet, which is sure to add a spark to the rivalry.