The Dallas Mavericks have struggled since trading for Kyrie Irving. They have dealt with injuries, communication issues, and defensive woes. Every game matters in the crowded Western Conference, but Dallas has not found their stride. The play of rookie Jaden Hardy is one massive positive to come out of the team’s otherwise terrible recent stretch.
The 20-year-old struggled to earn minutes and find a consistent role early in the season. He slipped into the second round in the draft following an up-and-down season with the G League Ignite. There were questions about his shot selection, playmaking ability, and defense coming into the league, but Hardy immediately proved to be a hard worker that wanted to improve.
He has earned consistent minutes over the last ten games, and the 6'4 guard has shown why he should be the team’s sixth man of the present and the future. Here is a look at his game to determine why he bets fits coming off the bench as some instant offensive weapon and what that means moving forward.
Dallas Mavericks rookie Jaden Hardy deserves more playing time after hot stretch
Since getting back into the rotation on March 8 as both Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving suffered injuries, Hardy has averaged 16.4 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.7 assists in 24.0 minutes per game over ten contests. The 20-year-old rookie is shooting 46.2 percent from the field and has made 50.0 percent of his 62 3-point attempts.
Hardy flashed when both stars missed time, but he has provided value with both in the lineup too. The Mavericks' defense has been an issue all season, and it is tough for head coach Jason Kidd to play Doncic, Irving, and Hardy on the floor together. That is why the rookie needs to come off the bench and provide some punch as the sixth man.
Fans do not have to watch long to see that the 6’4 guard is a special talent with a unique ability to score. He is going to make mistakes, but Hardy deserves a consistent role in the present and future for the Dallas Mavericks. Here is a look at why he should be the team’s sixth man for the foreseeable future.