Jaden Hardy has flirted with cracking the Dallas Mavericks’ rotation consistently.

That’s expected when he is averaging 30 points per game on 55 percent shooting from the field in 10 games in the NBA G League. Hardy has played relatively well in his forays at the NBA level as well, averaging five points a game in six appearances. His most impressive moment came against Phoenix when he scored 10 points in two minutes.

It was unbelievable. Yet, underscoring Hardy’s success has been the grueling development cycle he’s on. It often features a few days in the G League for every one day with the Mavericks. Somehow that process has worked. He’s improved from the start of the season to now. And for that, he has Luka Doncic, Dallas’ consistent superstar, to thank for continuing to believe in him.

“Yeah, that makes me feel good, just having him by my side,” Hardy said of Doncic’s support to MavsMoneyball.com. “I’m always watching and learning from Luka; he’s one of the best players in the NBA. Luka has always been there for me. He’s someone I can go to ask, ask him anything.”

What Hardy can be

Hardy’s 10 points in two minutes, and his overall improvement as a player, led Doncic to sing his praises after Dallas’ December matchup with Phoenix.

Meanwhile, for Hardy, producing in the G League showcases his mentality. He knows that he can produce at an NBA level. He’s merely waiting his turn. 

“I am just staying ready for my opportunity, waiting for when my name is called,” Hardy said. “That’s all I can do right now. And just staying prepared and working on my game, and continuing to improve in all aspects of my game.”

That’s good news for Dallas. In the 2022 NBA Draft, Dallas took a flyer on Hardy. He’s played in G League before with the G League Ignite team. It isn’t new to him. Now, he’s just waiting on another opportunity to prove himself at an NBA level. Having Doncic in his corner has clearly helped in those pursuits.

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Feature image via Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports