Jaden Hardy: Dallas Mavericks Find a Steal

Jaden Hardy is now a member of the Dallas Mavericks after being drafted 37th overall. The pick originally belonged to the Sacramento Kings, who are now getting the Mavericks’ 2024 and 2028 second-round picks in return. Hardy’s talent, and the system in place in Dallas, will allow the player to grow into a major steal.

Jaden Hardy Is a Steal for the Dallas Mavericks

Mavericks High on the Player

Dallas loved what they saw in Hardy. The issue, however, was that they dealt their first-round pick (26th overall) to the Houston Rockets to bring in Christian Wood. Although Wood looks to be a strong fit, it originally cost the Mavericks a chance at Hardy.

Well, not so fast.

According to Tim MacMahon, Hardy was ranked as the 19th top prospect on the Mavericks’ draft big board. Even if the Mavericks were drafting at 26th, they likely only held a sliver of hope that Hardy would be available. His questionable fall in the draft made Mavericks GM Nico Harrison realize that now was the time to pounce.

“We had him higher than 37,” Harrison said (with a smirk). “Yeah, we were surprised. We were really shocked that he kept slipping.”

Harrison was full of praise for Hardy.

“If you look at the way he played [in the G League], his team always gave him the ball,” Harrison said. “They trusted him and know he has the work ethic. He put the time in the gym. If you look at his teammates, some of them are veterans, he had the ball in his hand because they gave him the ball. If you see the shot clock running down, they gave him the ball. They only do that for people they trust.”

Harrison believes Hardy will have a long-term future in Dallas. This makes sense, of course, given the Mavericks’ first-round grade on the player.

Sheer Talent

Hardy was a stud in high school, averaging close to a 30-point triple-double per game. He was ranked as the number two overall high school prospect in 2021 by ESPN. Hardy, of course, chose the G-League Ignite route over college ball.

It worked out for him, as his numbers were quite impressive. He averaged close to 20 points, four rebounds, and four assists per game. Hardy is a pure scorer. He may not be the craziest athlete or anything of that fashion, but he knows how to get buckets in a variety of ways. He’s also a crafty ball handler so he can create his own shots. Outside of that, he’s a terrific shooter so that is a major asset on a Luka Doncic offense.

Hardy projects as a scorer, but he needs to improve his finishing at the rim. As he matures and gets stronger under the tutelage of NBA trainers, this should happen. He’s also turnover-prone, but this happens to young players with high usage rates. This can easily be fixed.

Dallas is the perfect landing spot for Hardy because there’s no rush here. Sure, Dallas is ready to contend, but they don’t need Hardy to be a major rotational piece just yet. The team has plenty of backcourt talent that Hardy can learn from in his early years.