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It's Time For Coach Jason Kidd to Give Mavs Rookie Jaden Hardy a Shot

Jaden Hardy has been putting up big numbers for the Texas Legends. Given the Dallas Mavericks' roster needs, it wouldn't hurt for Hardy to get some minutes and gain some valuable learning experience this season.

As much as we talk about the Dallas Mavericks needing to make roster tweaks via potential trades, there are still a few in-house buttons coach Jason Kidd can press to give Luka Doncic some more help before getting to that point.

The Mavs came into the season having high hopes for Frank Ntilikina and Josh Green taking over as the team's third ball-handler, but so far, that just hasn't happened yet. With Jalen Brunson gone, Spencer Dinwiddie stepped up in to that specific role, which created a need for Dinwiddie's old bench role to be filled. Facu Campazzo is a decent distributor, but no opponent is thinking twice about leaving him open from deep when he does get to play.

Although the addition of Christian Wood and the return of Tim Hardaway Jr. has provided a boost for Dallas' bench scoring, there's still just something missing. Could 20-year-old rookie Jaden Hardy be the answer?

In five games for the Mavs' G League affiliate, the Texas Legends, Hardy is averaging 27 points per game, which is tied for fifth in the league. Hardy is also averaging 4.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists and is shooting 54.9 percent from the field, including 42.9 percent from deep and 89.5 percent from the free-throw line.

Obviously, the G League isn't as challenging as the NBA, although the talent on that level has risen considerably in recent years. Regardless, though, Hardy has shown that he's ready for a real shot in the big league. He wasn't posting that kind of efficiency in the G League last year before he was selected by the Mavs with the 37th pick in the 2022 draft.

Hardy is a young rookie, and young rookies are bound to make mistakes. However, given some of the lackluster performances we've witnessed from Mavs' supporting cast members so far this season, it probably wouldn't hurt for Kidd to mix in some playing time for Hardy. Not only could it potentially be a pleasant surprise for this year if all goes well, but at the very least, it will be better for both Hardy and the Mavs going forward if he's learning early and often.

Despite Hardy falling to the second round of the draft, the Mavs claimed that they had him as the 19th prospect on their big board. If that's truly the case, then Dallas needs to start using him more like the top-20 pick they thought he was.

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