Dallas Mavericks shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. has yet to start in a game in the 2023-24 NBA season, but he's fully embracing his role as his squad's sixth man. Following the Mavs' 147-97 demolition of the Utah Jazz at home on Wednesday, Hardaway told reporters during the postgame press conference that he is drawing inspiration from former Dallas guard Jason Terry.
“With past Mavericks teams, that sixth man guy, he’s a big deal. Jason Terry for example. Just trying to do my best impression of that in the modern day era,” Hardaway answered when asked by Noah Weber of The Smoking Cuban about his role.
Mavs' Tim Hardaway Jr. is thriving in his role
With Irving deciding to give it another go with the Mavs by signing a deal with the team in the offseason, Hardaway has seen his role change in Dallas. Irving will always be ahead of him in the pecking order, but instead of resenting his seemingly permanent move to the bench after starting for 45 games last season, Hardaway quickly learned how to love his job as the team's sixth man.
Against the Jazz, Hardaway came off the bench and gave Dallas additional firepower, scoring 17 points with four 3-pointers on 5-for-14 shooting from the field through 22 minutes on the floor. Hardaway is still enjoying ample minutes and is even averaging more shots from the field than he did in the 2018-19 campaign.
Luka Doncic and Irving are always going to be the top two guys for the Mavs, but Hardaway remains an important part of Dallas, which improved to 12-8 after taking down the Jazz.