The Mavericks endured yet another disappointing NBA postseason campaign. Despite being in the driver's seat to advance in the 2021 NBA Playoffs against the LA Clippers, they blew a 2-0 and 3-2 series lead, eventually losing the contest in seven games.
One of the key reasons behind their failure was the inconsistent displays of most of their players not named Luka Doncic. The Slovenian did it all for the team, averaging 35.7 points, 10.3 assists, and 7.9 rebounds per contest during the tight series.
Upcoming free agent Tim Hardaway Jr. was one of the few players apart from Doncic that did play well in the series against the Clippers.
He averaged 17 points per contest on 41.6% shooting from the floor and 40.4% shooting from beyond the arc on eight attempts. Hardaway was easily the second-best player on the team, especially in the last few weeks of the regular season and during the 2021 NBA Playoffs.
The Dallas Mavericks now have to decide whether to re-sign the 29-year old or choose the luxury of spending big on other players in free agency instead of letting him depart. On that note, let's find out if keeping Tim Hardaway Jr. is worth keeping for the Mavericks.
Analyzing why the Dallas Mavericks should look to re-sign Tim Hardaway Jr.
Tim Hardaway Jr.'s game elevated in the 2020-21 NBA season and gave Luka Doncic much-needed support as the team's second option during games.
During the regular season, Hardaway averaged 16.6 points per game and was one of the most lethal shooters from deep. He proved he can be impactful in a starting role or off the bench as well.
His performances against the LA Clippers in the 2021 NBA Playoffs also proved that he can be a reliable player in big games. He had 20 points or more four times in the seven-game series.
Tim Hardaway Jr.'s late surge for the Dallas Mavericks proves how crucial he can be moving forward. Having a player who can score 20-point or 30-point games is exactly the kind of supporting cast the Mavericks want to surround Doncic with, and Hardaway proved he could be that player.
Moreover, he has been part of the franchise for over two seasons now, which makes it easier for him to understand the team's needs. If the Dallas Mavericks do choose to keep Hardaway Jr., coach Rick Carlisle and his staff can also figure out a more stable role for the sharpshooter to flourish.
Analyzing why Dallas Mavericks shouldn't re-sign Tim Hardaway Jr.
Tim Hardaway Jr. will help the Dallas Mavericks maintain their prowess on the offensive end, but they may continue to suffer defensively if they opt to re-sign him. As mentioned earlier, bringing back Hardaway Jr. will take a massive hit on their cap space and will disable them from approaching other free agents.
The Dallas Mavericks won't always be able to outscore teams and win in the future, especially in the playoffs. With the front office looking to make a push for the championship, their primary objective should ideally be building a team that can be equally good on both ends of the floor.
Tim Hardaway Jr. isn't the answer to that, and the Dallas Mavericks will have very little scope to move him around if the 29-year-old shows signs of decline over the next few years. On top of that, he isn't a complete offensive package as he can't fulfill the role of a playmaker and ball-handler either.
The Dallas Mavericks could explore the free agency market for various players instead, who can give them more than just shooting ability.