Last, but not least, defense. As it's been mentioned throughout the entirety of the article, Hardy is a fantastic shooter and an improving all-around offensive player. But his defense has left much to be desired.
As far as counting stats go, Hardy only averaged 0.4 steals per game. Although Hardy is a bit undersized, he does have a massive 6-foot-9 wingspan which typically coincides with great defense. Additionally, he is athletic and nimble, thus the intangibles are there.
But as is the case with most young guards, the awareness and discipline of a solid defender is absent. Hardy ranked in the bottom 75th percentile of all players in the NBA in defensive rating. Although not the worst of the Mavs, Hardy recorded a defensive rating of 115.6.
And among players to qualify, Hardy would rank in the bottom five percentile if his defensive box plus/minus were eligible to rank amongst players.
When dissecting advanced defensive analytics further, it is a common theme for young guards to litter the ranks as the worst defenders. So, Hardy is absolutely not a lost cause on defense. And, looking at the bright side, Hardy wasn't even the worst defender on the Mavericks. He graded out as an average Dallas defender.
Hardy may never become an elite defender and that's fine. But if Hardy were to reach his max potential, becoming at least an average to above-average defender would keep Hardy on the court for 30-plus minutes per game.
Numerous players in the association have several weaknesses. Some are to no fault of their own. A lack of athleticism, size, or skill can damper one's ceiling.
As for Hardy, he doesn't truly possess a tangible weakness. He's athletic, has solid size for a guard, can shoot the lights out, can handle the ball, and has a great work ethic.
Reaching one's potential in the NBA is a difficult task to accomplish. But, Hardy seems to have what it takes. The young Maverick only has a few obstacles he must overcome to fully reach his ceiling.