The Dallas Mavericks had a seven-game win streak going before it was snapped by the Boston Celtics on Thursday night. However, they bounced back in a big way with a win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday, though they were missing Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, CJ McCollum, and Larry Nance Jr.
Regardless of injuries, it was still a good way for Dallas to get back on track, and it allowed rookie Jaden Hardy to get some reps. He put up some impressive numbers, and after the contest, Luka Doncic praised the young rookie.
“Amazing,” Doncic said of Hardy. “He gave us the pace. He was just attacking all the time. They couldn’t stop him. He’s a great player, and you can see it.”
Hardy logged 20:51 against the Pelicans – his second-highest minute total of the season. In that time, he tied his season-high for points with 15. Hardy also notched one rebound and two steals on 7-of-9 shooting from the field and 1-of-2 shooting from behind the three-point line.
Dallas traded into the draft in order to select Hardy with the 37th overall pick. He had only appeared in 12 games for the Mavericks before their tilt against the Pelicans, but he’s flashed some serious potential in the G League and back in Summer League.
With Kemba Walker being released by the Mavericks, more minutes could open up for Hardy. He and two-way guard McKinley Wright IV have been playing well, and with Walker out of the picture, there will undoubtedly be more opportunities for them.
Mavericks Called Out for Failure Around Luka Doncic
Hardy is only 20 years old, so there’s plenty of time for him to grow into a star, but right now, he’s not on that level. Doncic is one of the best players in the league and is ready to compete for a championship right now. In turn, the Mavericks should aim to put as much talent around him as possible.
According to Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report, Dallas has failed to get a co-star for Doncic, and they aren’t anywhere close to finding one.
“Dallas desperately needs a second star to help maximize Dončić’s prime and give him a real shot at championship contention,” Buckley said. “Of course, that’s been true for quite a while now, and there’s no reason to think the Mavs are any closer to finding one.”
Bradley Beal Would Pair Perfectly With Luka Doncic
Dallas attempted to put a star next to Doncic with the Kristaps Porzingis experiment, but that didn’t go to plan. On his podcast show, The Old Man & The Three Things, former NBA player JJ Redick said that Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal would be the perfect co-star.
“It’s just a matter of who would be available, and I like the idea of Bradley Beal a lot… It’s obviously gotta be somebody that’s comfortable playing off the ball,” Redick said. “Sort of oscillating between on the ball and off the ball, and most stars are ball dominant.”
He noted Beal’s ability to play off the ball as the main reason.
“I think the interesting thing about Bradley Beal is his ability to sort of play off the ball as a cutter, coming off pin downs, spot up shooting, and then getting into ISO, pick and roll play so I think that’s sort of the optimal guy,” Redick said.