Why the Dallas Mavericks need to find minutes for Jaden Hardy

Dallas Mavericks, Jaden Hardy
Dallas Mavericks, Jaden Hardy / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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The Dallas Mavericks traded back into the second round to select Jaden Hardy. The 20-year-old guard was a projected top-ten pick before his lone season playing for the G League Ignite. He struggled with his efficiency playing against grown men, and it dropped him out of the first round. The talent was still there, and the Mavs had a first-round grade on him, so they pounced when slipped to 38th on draft night.

Hardy’s talent is unquestioned, and the 6’4 guard has averaged 28.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 3.6 assists in 33.3 minutes over 11 games with the Texas Legends where he is shooting 54.9 percent from the field and 49.0 percent on his threes. He has dominated the G League this season, but the rookie has only played 78 minutes for the Mavericks and has been limited to mop-up duties.

Head coach Jason Kidd discussed the importance of getting him minutes in his first NBA season, but the team has to balance that against winning now. Hardy’s not playing for several reasons, but here is why they need to find him more minutes.

Why Dallas Mavericks need to play Jaden Hardy more: 3. Learn from mistakes

It is impossible to learn from mistakes if the player never gets on the court to make them. Hardy is practicing with the team, but the team is not scrimmaging given the packed schedule and injuries they are dealing with. Being shorthanded has the Mavs keeping the 20-year-old rookie in Dallas, but he still cannot crack the rotation. That leaves him without minutes.

The Mavericks should be maximizing his minutes all season. If they know Jaden Hardy is not going to play in their game, the team should send him down to get minutes for the Legends. He needs to work on his playmaking, distributing, ball-handling, shot selection, and defense. The best place to do that is on the court in game action. The Mavs need to let Hardy play.

Not just in the G League either. Jaden Hardy needs more NBA minutes to make mistakes and grow his game. The 6’4 guard has a high ceiling, but he will never reach it unless he gets playing time.