Tim Hardaway Jr.’s silky 16-point NBA debut in the preseason opener in Providence R.I. on Wednesday moved Knicks coach Mike Woodson to proclaim the rookie has a spot in his crowded rotation.

That’s no easy accomplishment considering Woodson usually isn’t fond of rookies and admits he is trying to figure out how to make his six backcourt men happy. The Knicks have three point guards and three shooting guards — Hardaway Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith.

“I think Tim has put himself in a nice position to play’’ Woodson said. “He’s going to be in the rotation. He’ll play some.’’

The Knicks always considered themselves fortunate the Michigan product fell to them at No. 24. The Bulls were close to snatching him at 21 but went with Tony Snell. One spot before the Knicks the Pacers passed on Hardaway for small forward Solomon Hill.

“I feel good but at the same time I’m still trying to earn minutes and do whatever you can to help the team win’’ Hardaway said. “What do I need to do? Go out there and play defense. Coach Woodson really strives on the defensive end.’’

Looking like a wizened veteran offensively he drained 5 of his first 6 shots.

“I had some type of nerves but once I made that first 3 I was good to go” Hardaway said.
Afterward he consulted with his father Tim Hardaway Sr. who attended the game officially as a Heat scout. Woodson also spoke with the elder Hardaway.