Tim Hardaway Jr. is silencing his critics and morphing into the leader that the New York Knicks desperately needed this season.

Danny Small

NEW YORK, NEW YORK—Year one of Tim Hardaway Jr.’s four-year contract did not go as planned. The swingman inked a new deal with the New York Knicks in 2017 worth just under $71 million, but he struggled to stay healthy for a huge chunk of the year. Furthermore, he struggled to maintain consistency even when he was healthy.

There were flashes of brilliance, but long stretches of poor shooting became an issue for Hardaway. During one particular 10-game period, Hardaway shot 31 percent from the field and 17 percent from deep. Hardly the type of production Steve Mills expected when they signed Hardaway to become one of the team’s main scorers.

Just when it looked like Hardaway may never break out, he exploded for 32 first-half points against the Washington Wizards. It was everything the Knicks hoped Hardaway could become. He was aggressive going to the basket, ran Washington’s defense ragged around screens, and energized the Garden crowd.

But he followed up his first-half performance with five points in the second half and the Knicks blew a sizable lead. It was a microcosm for Hardaway’s season. There was little consistency from half to half, let alone game to game.

Hardaway is writing a new story this season.

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