Tim Hardaway Jr. claims his injury sparked the Knicks' decline

Washington Wizards v New York Knicks

The New York Knicks have struggled this season.

At 24-38, they are out of playoff contention, lost Kristaps Porzingis to a season-ending injury and have a few nightmare contracts on their books.

One of those gigantic contracts belongs to Tim Hardaway Jr. Despite the fact that the Knicks traded him away for a small return earlier in his career, they signed him to a four-year, $71 million deal in the summer of 2016.

Averaging 16.8 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 32.6 minutes per contest in 40 games for the Knicks this season, Hardaway has shown glimpses of stardom at times, but for the most part has been inconsistent. For example, over 10 games in the month of March, the Knicks went 1-9 with him on the court and he scored in single-digits in five of those contests. But, he also had a 37-point outburst in one game, going 14-for-24 from the field against the Washington Wizards on February 12.

After going 11-10 with Hardaway on the court to begin the season, he suffered a stress injury in his leg on November 29. After that point, the Knicks went 8-12 when he missed the next 20 games and have gone 5-16 since he returned from that ailment. But, he blames his injury for ruining the Knicks’ season.

Washington Wizards v New York Knicks

"I had a solid preseason, struggled the first four games of the regular season and then was just cruising after that," Hardaway told Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. "We were winning. We had a winning streak here and there. I felt confident, I felt great - and then, the injury. The injury I think was a blow to the team. I was very disappointed. I really felt like if I didn't have that injury we wouldn't be in the position we'd be in right now. And it sucks. But it's life.”

He also believes the injury limited his individual numbers as well.

"I want to average 18, 19 points. I want to average 5 or 6 assists, 5 or 6 rebounds and get a starting point. Everybody has goals and definitely I want to become an All-Star in the near future and hopefully next year. I'm putting in a lot of work," he told the Daily News. "I think (I would've reached those goals without the stress injury). I believe so. It sucked when it happened just because we had such a good group going and everything. And when the injury happened it took a toll on me and I felt like I let my teammates down."

Washington Wizards v New York Knicks

With 20 games left in the year, Hardaway made it clear that he will not back down.

"The last 20 game, we have to go all out. If people think we're going to tank and just give up games and stuff like that, they're rooting for the wrong team," he said. "We're not built that way. We're not losers. And we don't look at that as a way of just summing up our season. We're ballplayers. We have confidence in ourselves and if people want to doubt us than they can go cheer for somebody else.”

Since Hardaway shot 37.3 percent overall and just 24.3 percent from three-point range in the month of March, he will most likely make consistency a point of emphasis over the remaining contests.

News Now - Sport News