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Jaden Hardy is excited to start his NBA career with the Mavericks

Hardy says his game is ready-made for the next level.

2022 NBA Draft Photo by Steve Freeman/NBAE via Getty Images

The Dallas Mavericks ranked Jaden Hardy high on their draft board. They liked what they saw from him in the G League last season so much that they traded into the 2022 NBA Draft to get him.

As the newest member of the Mavericks, Hardy is excited to get to work now that he is in Dallas. It will not be long before he sees game action as the team prepares for Summer League.

“It’s going to be super exciting,” Hardy told reporters Tuesday. “Me playing there as a Dallas Mavericks is something that I always dreamed of–being able to go play in Summer League. Going back and being able to play in front of my second hometown. It’s going to be fun.”

Hardy will feature prominently on the Mavericks Summer League team in Las Vegas. For those that have not seen him play, Hardy says that he has a game that readily translates to the NBA.

“I feel like I bring three-level scoring, my ability to play make, create for others, getting my teammates involved,” Hardy said. “I know here it’s going to start on the defensive end. That’s how I’m going to gain the coaches’ trust. Just being a better defender and really just being able to learn from the vets and the players that are already on the team.”

Something that he says he hangs his hat on is his shooting. He sees it being a feature of his game that will help his teammates at the next level.

“I feel like my ability to shoot the ball, I feel like that translates right off,” Hardy said. “Just me being able to come in as an outside shooter. I feel like that will take pressure off of Luka [Doncic] when teams are focused in on him, me being able to knock down those outside shots.”

While he has not met Doncic yet, Hardy has a relationship with the other newest member of the Mavericks. He has had a relationship with Christian Wood for several years and is looking forward to playing with him in Dallas.

“I’ve been knowing Christian Wood for a couple of years now, so that’s my guy,” Hardy said. “With him having those Vegas roots playing at UNLV, we already knew each other. We’ve played in a couple of runs with each other a couple of years ago. He already knows who I am, and I feel like we have a good relationship.”

Playing alongside pros is what led Hardy to join the G League rather than play at the collegiate level. The talent is better in the G League, he says, and it helped him learn professional habits that he says will help him succeed in the NBA next season.

“Playing in the G League, that’s NBA-level talent.” Hardy said. “I played against guys this year in the G League like Johnathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, who were just on the Warriors. Playing against those NBA talent guys who were just on the championship team, it’s only going to make me better. I feel like playing NBA-level competition, it shows you what you need to get better at. Coming into this next season, I feel like I have a chip on my shoulder.”