Like Patrick Baldwin Jr, Jaden Hardy is another player that was projected to be a top pick in the 2022 NBA Draft but slipped after an underwhelming season. Still, Hardy has an undeniable offensive repertoire that has scouts interested in selecting him in the first round. Hardy finished his season with the G-League Ignite, averaging 17.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game on merely 35% shooting from the field. It will be interesting to see where Hardy gets picked on draft night; check out where I have him ranked on my big board below!
Jaden Hardy Scouting Report
Most experts and fans would have loved to see Jaden Hardy compete at the combine ahead of the NBA Draft; however, the risk outweighed the reward. Hardy is roughly 6-foot-4 with a significant plus wingspan that should alleviate any concerns about length and height at his position. Hardy projects as a combo guard but should see most of his time off the ball at the beginning of his career. His measurements, strengths, and weaknesses are listed below, so take a further look.
Weight: 200 lbs
Position: Combo Guard
College/Pro Team: G-League Ignite
Strengths: Jaden Hardy has one of the most impressive offensive skillsets out of every prospect in the draft. Hardy utilizes his strong handle, shiftiness, and creativity to get open for shots in isolation and to create for teammates. Despite some inefficiency shooting the ball in his first season with the G-League Ignite, Hardy has translatable shooting mechanics that should bode well, whether off the dribble or in catch-and-shoot situations. Hardy takes his offensive craft seriously, and it would come as no surprise if he turned into one of the better scorers in the NBA in just a few years. Additionally, Jaden works well in the pick-and-roll, fitting in pocket passes to rolling bigs or “snaking” the screen to get the defender on his back and create further. His offensive game is elite.
Weaknesses: Hardy has two main concerts: lack of explosiveness and defense. He’s still just 19 years old, so he has plenty of time to fix issues on the defensive end, but he should start right now. At the NBA level, weak defenders get hunted, which is a concern for Hardy, who needs to see the floor and gain valuable experience to reach his potential. Hardy’s defense is a much more significant concern than his athletic ability.
Jaden Hardy Stats
Jaden Hardy NBA Draft Ranking, Team Fit, Landing Spot
Draft Ranking: 14
Team Fit: Hardy will fit in well with any team that needs a 6th man who can fill it up. I can see Hardy’s first few years in the league being similar to James Harden’s in Oklahoma City. Furthermore, Hardy would be best in an organization that will never expect him to be an elite defender. He did show an aptitude for the catch-and-shoot in addition to his scoring with the ball, so perhaps Milwaukee would be a solid destination for him. If the Bucks add another excellent shooter and scorer, they may be the most dangerous offensive team in the NBA for years to come.
Landing Spot: Hardy was projected to be a Top 10 pick before the season, with some experts even putting him into the Top 5. Hardy dropped significantly after an underwhelming start to the G-League season; however, he did have a strong finish in his last few games. Hardy could go anywhere from the late teens to the late-20s, but he’s probably too talented to slip out of the first round.
Jaden Hardy NBA Comparison: Jordan Poole
Jaden Hardy has started to resemble Jordan Poole in virtually every single way. They struggle on the defensive end, often caught flat-footed and off-balance, but are electric and creative on the offensive end. Poole has surged this season, becoming a reliable scorer for the Golden State Warriors on their way to the NBA Finals. Both players are incredibly shifty and can create space from defenders with impressive and unique dribble moves and excellent fakes.
Jaden Hardy Highlights
In these highlights, you will see why Jaden Hardy reminds me so much of Jordan Poole and Anfernee Simons, two prolific scorers at the NBA level. Hardy’s floor is really high due to his offensive skill set, but he will have to take giant strides on defense to make sure he’s not a complete liability on that end of the floor.