2. Tim Hardaway Jr.
Tim Hardaway Jr. is one player many casual NBA fans may have forgotten played for the Atlanta Hawks, with him being more known for his days with the New York Knicks and now the Dallas Mavericks.
Joining Atlanta in 2015 via trade from New York, Hardaway received several assignments to the D-League (now G-League) before finding his spot in the Hawks’ rotation. Still, he played just 16.9 minutes per game his first season in Atlanta. It was not until the following season in 2016-17 that he started to find his groove with the team.
Starting in 30 games that season while putting up 14.5 points on a career-best 45% from the floor, it looked like Hardaway was settling into his role nicely. But at the end of the year, the Hawks chose not to sign him to an extension and instead extended a qualifying offer to Hardaway, making him a restricted free agent.
He ended up returning to his old team, the Knicks, on a four-year, $71 million dollar deal. Given his market price at the time, most would agree that the Hawks were smart to not break the bank for a player of Hardaway’s caliber. Even so, he has excelled as a mid-to-high-level role player since his departure from Atlanta.
In 2018-19, he averaged a career-high 19.1 points in 46 games with New York. The next season, he shot just under 40% from three and started 58 games next to Luka Doncic, helping lead the Mavs to the playoffs for a second straight year. It is certainly hard to watch Hardaway’s high-octane scoring prowess and not wonder how he would look next to Trae Young, even if he is a bit inefficient at times.