Last night, the Dallas Mavericks lost to the LA Clippers 120-111 at the American Airlines Center.
Dallas has now lost three of their last four games, and the injury bug is hitting them hard. The Mavs are without Kyrie Irving, Dereck Lively II, Maxi Kleber, and Josh Green right now, and there have been no timetables for any of their returns.
With so many injuries, that means that other players will have to step up. And last night, one of the players that stepped up the most was Jaden Hardy.
Mavericks guard proves Dallas must not trade him with improvement in key area
Hardy scored 15 points and shot 5-9 from downtown in the game. Although he still forced some shots from the mid-range and shot a combined 5-13 from the field, it's clear that Hardy has improved at letting the game come to him and being a complimentary piece rather than being an overly aggressive shot creator.
When playing with Luka Doncic, Hardy is someone who Dallas can rely on as a shooter off the catch. He has struggled as a shooter this season, but if Hardy continues to let the game come to him like he did last night, he will be someone Dallas can progressively rely on more.
Previously, Hardy was someone who most people thought that the Mavs should trade. He had regressed from last season and wasn't playing in the flow of the offense. Sometimes, he even looked lost offensively.
He went from being a phenomenal offensive player as a rookie to a liability this season, but I think last night proved that Dallas should stick with him.
He is still maturing as a player, but if he continues to be a complimentary piece rather than someone who takes shots out of the flow of the offense, the Mavs will be fine. This doesn't mean that Hardy shouldn't create his own shot sometimes, but he is much better when he allows the game to come to him.
One game can't tell all, but if Hardy can continue to thrive in his role like he did last night, the Mavs will have someone who they can't afford to lose.
For all the latest on Jaden Hardy and the Dallas Mavericks this season, stay tuned.