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    Default Article: Hardaway OK but not happy in his reserve role

    By Tim Povtak | Sentinel Staff Writer
    Posted March 5, 2005

    Penny Hardaway is healthy again, but that doesn't mean he is happy again. Hardaway, the 11-year veteran who started his career in Orlando, was on the injured list when the Knicks played here in December. It was a familiar spot for him, having struggled through several injury-plagued seasons since his days as a star with the Magic.

    He is averaging 8 points and 2.2 assists this season as a part-time role player, his first full season with the Knicks.

    "It's not that I can't do it anymore. I'm just not getting the chances to do it," he said before the Knicks played the Magic at the TD Waterhouse Centre. "With have so many scorers on this team, I get very few scoring opportunities. But physically, I feel great again."

    Hardaway, who helped lead the Magic to the 1995 NBA Finals in his second NBA season, has gone from being a first-team All-NBA player in Orlando to a reserve struggling to accept his role. He received a mixed reception from the fans when he entered the game, cheers mixed with boos.

    "It's been so long, I've been through so much since those days here," Hardaway said. "I'm fine. Everyone has been good to me."

    The Knicks spent three days in Orlando, and Hardaway drove out to his old neighborhood in Islesworth, where he expects to return this summer and buy property again.

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    It's tuff to see a player who used to play as an allstar and now desapoint the fans sometimes.

    Penny is for the Knicks just a good backup. Houston being in the Injured List Penny becomes the sixth man.

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    You know what, if Penny thinks he is going to be able to play major minutes and be a superstar again, he's just nuts. However, he can be a tremendous role player off the bench, he just needs to face reality.

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    I think he is starting to realize that he has to be good off the bench. If he can end his career, avereging his 8 points, and what have you, i think he will be happy. Also he can take young guys, like Ariza and guide them and show them what the NBA is all about..... Im glad we got Penny, i just hope hes glad to be in new york.

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    Originally Posted by Peach_NYK_21
    I think he is starting to realize that he has to be good off the bench. If he can end his career, avereging his 8 points, and what have you, i think he will be happy. Also he can take young guys, like Ariza and guide them and show them what the NBA is all about..... Im glad we got Penny, i just hope hes glad to be in new york.
    I agree and hope for the same thing concerning Penny Hardaway. Alot of times when you have a player that was once a superstar, and their role deminishes, they have a hard time coping with the fact that they are no longer the player they used to be. It's a little different when a player declines over the years with age. In Penny's circumstance, injuries plagued his career and turned him into a bench player much earlier than he would have ever antisipated. I do hope Penny provides wisdom to some of the Knicks young players, it's instrumental to have a veteran like him take the young guys under his wing.

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