Southeast Notes: Hardaway, Nene, Harrison

Tim Hardaway Jr. barely played the first two months of the season as Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer kept him either on the bench or on D-League assignment, casting doubt on the wisdom of the decision that Budenholzer, in his role as president of basketball operations, made when he traded for him this past summer. The 23-year-old shooting guard has since found his way into the rotation, and Budenholzer credits his perseverance, as Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution relays.

“I think he really put in time in the weight room,” Budenholzer said. “He missed a little bit of the summer with his [injured] wrist. His athleticism, his pop, which is one of the things that intrigued us about him, has returned. Then, he’s just working defensively. He’s getting over screens, fighting through screens. He just really understands how important it is to be good defensively and you see it when he’s playing. He’s communicating. He’s talking. He’s working. On the offensive end, he’s just letting it come to him.”

Still, Hardaway has seen action in only 12 NBA games this season, and while he’s eligible for a rookie scale extension this summer, that seems a long shot, at best. Here’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Wizards briefly paired Marcin Gortat and Nene on the floor in Monday’s game, and the inauspicious results showed why the team has been right to avoid putting them together this season, contends J. Michael of Nene, who moved to the bench this year after having started alongside Gortat in years past, is a free agent at season’s end.
  • The results of the first half of the season indicate the Heat have a roster that’s better in theory than in reality, with a style of play that doesn’t fit Goran Dragic and an over-reliance on Gerald Green‘s outside shooting, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald examines.
  • The Hornets have assigned Aaron Harrison to the D-League, the team announced. He’ll play for the Thunder’s affiliate, since Charlotte doesn’t have a D-League partner of its own. Earlier, I examined previous instances of NBA teams sending players on D-League assignment to the affiliates of other NBA clubs.
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