Five reasons Hardaway Jr. has yet to play

The guard, who the Hawks gave up their first-round draft pick for this year, has yet to play this season. He continues to be patient in waiting for his chance. Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer, amid many questions, emphasized again Friday that Hardaway will be a contributing part of the Hawks’ roster.

“There are so many things that happen during a course of a season,” Budenholzer said Friday of an opportunity for Hardaway. “It will happen.”

Here are five reasons why Hardaway has not been a part of the rotation yet early in the season.

1. Hardaway dealt with a wrist issue while with the Knicks last season. It cost him games in New York. It was an injury that had to be dealt with over the summer. While getting to 100 percent, he lagged in his offseason shooting and conditioning.

2. The Hawks’ system consists of completely new concepts for Hardaway. He spent his first two seasons in New York in the Triangle offense with Carmelo Anthony as the focal point. Without much of the summer, Hardaway lost on-court drill work to get familiar with the complexities in which the Hawks operate under offensively and defensively.

3. Lamar Patterson and Justin Holiday are ahead of Hardaway in the rotation. It’s important to note that both are older than Hardaway. Patterson spent five years at the University of Pittsburgh. Although he played in Turkey last season, Patterson spent two summers with the Hawks in their Las Vegas Summer League entry running the system.

4. The Hawks have used the combination of Jeff Teague and Dennis Schroder more this season. When they go to the two point guard look, it takes away minutes from other wing players.

5. The Hawks play with a defense-first mentality. Hardaway is an offensive-minded player. He’ll need to catch up defensively with Patterson and Holiday. The Hawks are 10th in the NBA in defensive efficiency. They are going to continue to play to that strength.

“There is real competition,” Budenholzer said. “Those guys are competing for minutes, competing for opportunities. … Right now, those other two guys (Patterson and Holiday) have shown a little bit more and have been given that position and opportunity. Tim is going to have to earn his way into his opportunity. We feel that he will.”

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.