<
>

Tim Jr. looking to make noise defensively

NEW YORK –- Tim Hardaway Jr. made some noise with his offense as a rookie.

Now he’s hoping to take the next step in his game by improving his defense and being more vocal on the court.

The Knicks’ promising second-year shooter has spent his offseason focusing on his defense and agility, practicing with Team USA on a select team and playing on the Knicks' summer league team.

“I just want to be a better defender, a better vocal leader out there,” Hardaway Jr. said at Charity Day, hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald and BGC Partners last Thursday. “That is my main focus. I know offense will come and I will get better at that each and every day. Where you separate yourself in the league is by playing team defense and I want to be a part of that.”

Shooting and providing offensive punch certainly isn’t a problem for Hardaway Jr. In 23 minutes a game this past season, Hardaway Jr. averaged 10.2 points, 42.8 percent shooting overall and 36.3 percent from beyond the arc. He should only get better as he continues to expand his offensive game and learn what defenses will give him.

The 6-6 wingman also would appear to be a good fit for Derek Fisher’s triangle. Defensively, Hardaway Jr. needs to improve on the ball and his length could be an asset.

“I think the triangle we ran summer league, it was great,” Hardaway Jr. said. “You just got to trust each and every person, whoever is on the floor. And that’s the only way I think it will be able to work.”