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Thunder Draft: Jaden Hardy Worth the Risk?

Jaden Hardey had an underwhelming G League season, but has untapped potential as a scorer.

A year ago, guard Jaden Hardy was projected to be a top-five pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. One of the top prospects in his high school class, he was set to take a unique route to the NBA by spending a season in the G League playing for the Ignite.

Known for being a prolific scorer, he was a bit underwhelming last season leading up to the draft. Now he’s projected to go in the second half of the first round, or even early in the second.

For a team like the Oklahoma City Thunder who could look to take swings on high upside prospects, Hardy could be a great selection in the upcoming draft.

To be clear, Hardy still scored a ton of points during his G League campaign, but wasn’t necessarily efficient. While he led the Ignite in scoring with 17.7 points per game, he did it on 17.1 shots. Hardy shot just 35.1% from the floor and 26.9% from deep.

In rhythm off the catch, Hardy showed flashes of being a knock down shooter. Off the dribble, he really struggled to score at an efficient level.

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Jaden Hardy, 2022 NBA Draft

In the NBA early on, Hardy won’t get near as many shots as he got in the G League. He’ll have to prove he can be an impactful scorer on much lower volume.

Producing 4.6 and 3.2 assists was impressive from the young guard last season in the G League going up against many experienced players. At the next level, he’ll have to be more than just a scorer to be a star-level player.

He’ll be a slightly undersized for a combo guard in the modern NBA, but wasn’t a bad defender in the G League. He certainly wasn’t a stopper, but also wasn’t often a liability on that end of the floor.

Jaden Hardy, 2022 NBA Draft

With the Thunder’s pick at No. 30 or No. 34, Hardy could be a solid option. It’ll be a matter of whether he’s still on the board at that point.

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