Tim Hardaway Jr., the New York Knicks’ 24th overall selection in the 2013 NBA Draft, has been one of the league’s best rookies through 44 games thus far. In honor of his prodigious start, Hardaway has been selected to appear one of the festivities of All-Star Weekend: the Rising Stars Challenge. The 18 players eligible for the 2014 Challenge draft were announced Wednesday.
The Knicks Tim Hardaway Jr will play in the Rising Stars game, formerly known as the Rookies/Sophomore Challenge & before that the JV game
— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) January 29, 2014
Given the depth of this crop of precocious players, the two teams featuring the future faces of the Association are sure to make for an exciting game during All-Star Weekend. The game will feature teams of nine rookies and sophomores a side. Hardaway may be joined by his former Michigan teammate, Trey Burke of the Utah Jazz. The Knicks haven’t had any players in the game since 2012 when Jeremy Lin and Landry Fields competed. Iman Shumpert was passed over in both his rookie and sophomore seasons.
In a season that has been filled with turmoil, questioned trades and firing and numerous consecutive losses, this announcement comes as a cheerful moment for a team that desperately needed one. The Knicks, after a win against the Boston Celtics, move to nine games under .500 and stand in 10th place in the Eastern Conference, which has just five teams over .500 while the Western Conference has 11. It has certainly been a year to forget for the Knickerbockers, but Hardaway making the Rising Stars Challenge is a small glimmer of hope that their franchise has a potential superstar.
As exciting as it will be to monitor many of these promising players’ careers moving forward, the Rising Stars Challenge is a great opportunity for basketball fans to catch them all in one place competing against each other.
Tim Hardaway Jr. has averaged 8.3 points and 1.4 rebounds on an average of 19.5 minutes per game. His father, Tim Hardaway Sr., played 15 seasons in the NBA, averaging 17.7 points, 8.2 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game while playing for the Golden State Warriors, Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets and Indiana Pacers. He is most noted for his time with the Warriors as a member of “Run TMC” which featured the high-scoring trio of Hardaway, Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin. Hardaway current holds a position in the Miami Heat front office.