Leader of this year’s ‘Dat boy nice’ fanclub, Jaden Hardy gets buckets! A stocky 6-foot-4 guard with a deep bag and silky jumper, Hardy headlined the G League Ignite as a top recruit from his class. Adapting to pro-competition was an uphill battle for Hardy, who lacks the innate burst that would ascend his game to the next level. Even so, he’s a competent ball-handler who found his rhythm and unique pacing throughout his season.
Whether it’s a set shot or off-balance, Hardy is fearless with the ball in his hands. He’ll size up a stronger defender or barrel through small guards with undying confidence. Few players can stop on a dime and drain a jumper like he can, oftentimes using that mastery of balance to offset quicker or more athletic defenders.
He loves to compete but doesn’t understand the intricacies of defense at this stage. When he’s not fully engaged, Hardy is prone to tune out on defense. At times, he fails to match up one-on-one and gets blown by following quick actions like cuts or ball-fakes. It’s going to be a long road ahead for Hardy on that side of the court, but his ambition and physical attributes offer hope for the future.
Denver is known to take risks with its draft picks, banking on talent over fit and potential over immediate value. Getting clean looks playing off Nikola Jokic would make room for Hardy to expand his overall game while featuring the knack for shot-making which makes him special.