Friday, September 09, 2005

I Got SKILLZ


Remember this poster? I had this one
hanging next to Spree and CWebb.
Tim Hardaway. Tim Bug. My favorite player. The catalyst of the most exciting trio in the league, Run TMC. This is a tribute to one of the most exciting point guards in his prime. A great career damaged and cut short by a torn ACL. Who knows how great the numbers would have been had he not sustained the injury. Who knows where the Warriors would have been if he had not been injured. The Warriors elected to keep Spree instead of Timmy on the sad when they traded him to Miami for a Bimbo and a stiff. But we’re not here to talk about what could have been. This is about what he was.

To me, he was the best PG in the league. You had Stockton, Magic, and KJ, but as a young Warrior fan, nobody could excite me like Hardaway did. The numbers when he was with the Warriors are crazy. He burst into the league in the ’89 season averaging 14.7 points, 8.7 assists, 3.9 rebounds, and 2 steals in only 33 minutes per game. In the past 10 years, you could probably count the number of rookie point guards with those numbers on one hand. Then from the ‘90-’91 season to the ’94-’95 season (excluding the ’93-’94 season he was injured) he averaged nearly 23 points, 10 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals. You put up those kinds of numbers now, and I’ll take you in the first round of my NBA fantasy draft. After the trade to Miami he still put up solid PG numbers, but never matched his production as the knee injury slowed him up.

For those who don’t know, he reinvented the crossover (not AI) leaving defenders standing in place as he flashed by them. He broke ankles on the regular. I can still see it in my mind, that blue #10 jersey using one lightning quick dribble between the legs, then cross you up with a hard, quick dribble back across his body. Or he could kill you “slowly” with two quick dribbles back and forth between one of his legs, hesitate, and then cross you up as he explodes by you. Either way, he was gone and you stood there wondering what just happened.

As a 7th grader, I even tried to imitate him in my backyard and on the playground (I know I wasn’t the only one). Tell the defender “you’re about to see lightning strike,” dribble between my legs, crossover, but my defender still always seemed to be in front of me. Somehow it wasn’t as easy as it looked, but it was always fun pretending to be that quick. I took solace in the fact that at least I got the dribbling part correct, the speed thing was a whole different matter. (No wonder my aspirations for the NBA never materialized.)

Although he never shot a high shooting percentage, he was one of the most clutch players I can remember. Just ice cold veins. The defender would know he was going to take the shot, and yet he’d still pull up for three at the top of the key right in the guy’s grill. Nothin’ but net. Just what a leader should do, take over the game.

As a 5’3” shorty, watching him gave me the confidence to not worry about being shorter than others. He challenged these big guys like it was nothing. If he could do it, I could do the same. He had this uncanny ability to get in the lane and get shots off against those big tall trees that clog the lane. Twisting this way and that or lofting a floater over the outstretched hand of a big ugly, the shots would not get blocked and would drop through the net. It looked like he was teasing them, darting in between the big guys and then letting them get as close as possible to blocking the shot but never actually doing so. Add in the fact that he was so strong that he could jump into a defender, then with great body control get off a shot as if nothing happened. He was like a musician taking his audience on a wild ride with ups and downs, never giving the audience a chance to relax.

Maybe my memory blocks out the negative aspects of his game, but to me, Tim Hardaway was the ultimate PG with the ability to involve all of his teammates and at the same time take over games when the team needed him. Crazy numbers, exciting to watch, and a leader. What more could you ask for?

Player Profile (courtesy of RealGM)

What did you think of Tim Hardaway?

Who is your favorite Warrior of all time?


13 Comments:

At 1:16 PM, Blogger Carl Spackler said...

tim hardaway sucked. one of the most overrated players ever. while i'm on the topic...this blog sucks to.

 
At 2:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

carl spackler is a beeeyatch!

 
At 6:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

carl- your blog SUCKS

 
At 11:15 PM, Anonymous Warrior Fanatic said...

Easy question. AVERY JOHNSON period.

 
At 2:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Manute Bol. Especially when he heaved up those awkward looking 3 pointers. That was pretty sweet. Even with ten minutes of play he'd block shots by the dozens. Great individual.

-b
santa clara, ca

 
At 9:57 AM, Anonymous Joe said...

Now as Baron Davis is a Warrior it reminds me of having an all star PG, what a diffrence! Alhough both of them select bad shots and rely on treys, both of them are so exciting to watch and both have had injuries. Personally, I'd prefer Baron Davis.

Chris Mullin is my favorite player.

 
At 4:43 PM, Anonymous Warrior Fanatic said...

Yo B- Manute was OFF THE HOOK!

Avery to Manute for the trey?! Hahahaha

 
At 5:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Timmy hit 3 coming down the court... that what I most remember about him.

 
At 11:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wilt Chamberlain!

 
At 12:45 PM, Blogger fantasy junkie said...

damn i wish i could have seen wilt play, he might have been my favorite player.

haha and manute was awesome. i remember those 3's and how i would cringe as he shot them. i can't believe they dropped.

 
At 9:32 PM, Blogger dj fuzzylogic said...

Terry Teagle, thass my word..

 
At 11:24 PM, Blogger atma brother #1 said...

to this day i believe that if they timed it right and stuck with an avery johnson + earl boykins backcourt we'd have a couple of rings by now. thass the real word!

 
At 9:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Sleepy" Floyd was also one of my favorites. He really did look like he was always tired...

-b
santa clara, ca

 

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