Jason Kidd explains what Jaden Hardy brings to the Mavericks
With the Dallas Mavericks shorthanded on Monday, rookie Jaden Hardy stepped up off of the bench and produced his best game of the season in a win over the Utah Jazz.
Hardy recorded a career-high 29 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals in the 124-111 victory on the road. He finished by shooting 8-of-12 from the field, including 4-of-6 from 3-point range, in 25 minutes of work off the bench.
The 37th pick topped his previous season high of 25 points with the performance. His 29 points were the most scored by a Mavericks rookie since Luka Doncic (March 2019).
Mavericks coach Jason Kidd is happy to see his progress this year.
He is working. We’re going to have to get him some minutes here. Just the way he is playing, the maturity that he has on the floor, understanding of how to get to the basket. He gives us something that we don’t have and that’s speed. He is fearless of getting to the rim. He has shown that he can playmake, too.
Jaden Hardy and Josh Green showed out in the Mavs W.
Hardy: 29 PTS, 4 REB, 4 AST, 4 3PM
Green: 29 PTS, 6 REB, 3 3PM pic.twitter.com/gNj3ZrxYDp
— NBA (@NBA) February 7, 2023
The effort came when the Mavericks needed it the most.
Dallas agreed on Sunday to trade Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith and draft picks to Brooklyn for Kyrie Irving and Markieff Morris. In addition to being undermanned from the trade, they were also without Doncic (heel), Davis Bertans (calf) and Maxi Kleber (hamstring).
The trade sent shockwaves throughout the league as the Mavericks now figure to be a contender in the Western Conference. It also brought a new level of excitement to the team.
“My first thoughts were it is going to be scary with him and (Luka),” Hardy said. “With him coming here, we’re looking to win ball games. We got a goal and that is to win championships so I feel like with him coming in, it is going to help us a lot.”
He also expressed his gratitude toward Dinwiddie and Finney-Smith for helping him throughout his rookie year. They often gave him advice and always made sure he was handling the transition to the NBA well on and off the court.
As for his new teammate, Hardy is excited about what Irving brings.
“He is never sped up,” Hardy said. “He gets to his spots, knows how to pick his spots. The way he can finish around the basket, get to his spots. (There are) a variety of different things to his game that makes him so special and one of the top talents in this league.”
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