Opening Tip: Boost Hardaway's minutes?

NEW YORK -- The Knicks haven't given their fans much reason for optimism this season.

Between the 9-19 record, the calls for Mike Woodson's job and Carmelo Anthony's pending free agency, being a Knicks fans hasn't been a barrel of laughs to start the 2013-14 season.

But it hasn't been all bad.

Want proof? Just look at the play of Tim Hardaway Jr.

When the Knicks drafted Hardaway with the 24th overall pick last June, some saw him as a player the organization could develop behind Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith.

But Hardaway Jr.'s play has dictated otherwise. He's quickly become a regular in Woodson's rotation. And you can make an argument that he deserves an increase in minutes because of the struggles of Smith and Shumpert.

Hardaway Jr. is second on the team in scoring per 36 minutes with 16.7 points. That's 3.7 points higher than Smith and more than double Shumpert's per-36 minute scoring average (8.2).

Hardaway Jr. also has the best shooting percentage among Knicks guards. His shooting percentage (47.9 percent) is behind only Tyson Chandler, Amar'e Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin on the team's leaderboard. Furthermore, Hardaway has the lowest turnover percentage on the team (a stat that measures a player's turnovers per 100 plays).

The rookie's big hangup right now is on defense. Defense can be difficult to quantify statistically because one player's results are dependent on his teammates. But Hardaway Jr. has the worst defensive rating (an estimate measure of points allowed per 100 possessions) on the Knicks.

So the former Michigan star's defense is one factor to consider when thinking about a potential increase in minutes. He's currently playing 17.9 per game.

Also, it's worth pointing out that more minutes for Hardaway Jr. doesn't necessary mean fewer minutes for Shumpert and Smith. Both players can share the floor with Hardaway at times. And they bring things to the game that Hardaway Jr. is still working to develop (Smith's ability to create his own shot and Shumpert's defense).

But given the way Hardaway Jr.'s played thus far, you have to wonder if Woodson and the Knicks would benefit by increasing his playing time.

Up now: The Knicks suffered the worst home defeat in a Christmas Day game in the history of the NBA.

A few fans were calling for Mike Woodson's job during the game. But the players insist Woodson still has the support of the Knicks' locker room.

Beno Udrih doesn't seem happy with criticism from the coach though. He had a few interesting things to say about the criticism he feels he's received.

Lastly, Kevin Durant wonders where all of the fans at MSG were on Wednesday.

What's next: The Knicks will practice on Thursday to prepare for Friday's game against Toronto.

Question: Do you think Mike Woodson should increase Tim Hardaway Jr.'s playing time?

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