While the Dallas Mavericks wait for Luka Doncic to get healthy and Kyrie Irving to arrive, they’re getting a good look at talented youngsters like Jaden Hardy.
Jaden Hardy hasn’t played much this season — appearing in just 26 games, on the court for 277 minutes in total. But the Mavs made a point of keeping him out of the Kyrie Irving trade and he just used an unexpected opportunity to show why.
With Luka Doncic injured and Kyrie Irving not yet ready to join the team, Hardy had the chance to play 26 minutes off the bench in a Monday night win over the Utah Jazz. In the third-longest stint of his young career, Hardy put up 29 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals, shooting 8-of-12 from the field and 4-of-6 from beyond the arc.
Is Jaden Hardy ready to play a bigger role for the Mavs?
Hardy, a second-round pick, passed on college and spent his last pre-NBA season playing for the G League Ignite. There he established a track record as a dynamic on-ball creator and three-level scorer. He’s had precious few options to work in that role for the Mavericks and the addition of Irving isn’t going to open things up for him. What the Mavs need to see is that he can defend his position, help space the floor and figure out how to contribute on offense without the ball in his hands.
Hardy has made just 29.7 percent of his catch-and-shoot 3s for the season, a number that isn’t going to inspire much confidence. But he has played 11 games for the Mavs’ G League affiliate this season and made 47-of-96 behind the arc (49.0 percent). He can hit outside shots, he’s just going to need more opportunities to provide it.
Irving is supposed to make his Mavs debut on Wednesday but it’s not clear if Doncic will be in the lineup that night so there might be at least one more chance for him to play meaningful minutes and make the case for more.
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