Best-case scenario for each of the Mavericks' young talents

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Dallas Mavericks, Jaden Hardy
Apr 9, 2023; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Jaden Hardy (3) brings the ball up court / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

5. Jaden Hardy

The Mavericks knew they had a steal when they traded for the 37th overall selection to draft Jaden Hardy in 2022. Hardy entered the NBA by way of the G-League Ignite. While playing for the Ignite, Hardy averaged 17.7 points per game but shot a paltry 35.1 percent from the floor and 26.9 percent from three.

Hardy had long been on the NBA radar as a consensus 5-star recruit and top player from the class of 2021. However, his lone season in the G-League zapped some of the appeal he once had.

Nevertheless, time and time again, Hardy has demonstrated he can put the ball in the hoop at any level. Hardy's rookie season in the NBA was wildly successful for a second-round pick. Hardy averaged 8.8 points per game with efficient shooting splits. He shot 43.8 percent from the floor and 40.4 percent from beyond the arc.

Hardy is equipped with a deep, scoring arsenal. He is a good finisher who can throw it down or contort his body to score at the rim. He excels in both catch-and-shoot and off-the-dribble situations when shooting from the mid-range or from deep.

Step-backs, side-steps, one-dribble pump fakes, Hardy can do it all. He is also an efficient ball handler. Although not the flashiest dribbler, he is quick and uses his long strides to consistently get past his defender.

Other than his scoring, Hardy has yet to contribute in a positive manner. However, during the Summer League, he averaged 5.3 rebounds and a block and steal per game.

If Hardy can improve the other facets of his game, he'll be a worthwhile contributor for a playoff team. Due to his vast offensive arsenal, he deserves a spot in any rotation. But, an increase in playing time depends on improvements in other areas.

The best-case scenario of Jaden Hardy would be a perennial Sixth Man of the Year contender. Following a career path similar to Jamal Crawford, Louis Williams, or Jordan Clarkson seems reasonable, as Hardy projects as a spark plug scorer.

Best case scenario: Sixth Man of the Year