Jaden Hardy could be a worthy NBA Draft risk for the Chicago BullsRyan Heckmanon June 20, 2022 at 2:00 pm

Going into the 2022 NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls will end up having a lot of options.

One of those options, rumored lately, is the Bulls packaging their no. 18 pick with guard Coby White to try and move up in the draft or even for a veteran contributor. One thing that this rumor has told us, whether or not they trade their pick, is that the Bulls are ready to move on from White.

The Bulls’ situation at guard is tough, at the moment. With the health of Lonzo Ball up in the air and a possible White trade, the back court could look a little different next season.

Now, if the Bulls end up looking to deal White and want another reserve guard, one guy they could look at with pick no. 18 is Jaden Hardy out of the NBA G League Ignite.

Jaden Hardy could end up being the riskiest pick at no. 18 for the Chicago Bulls, but may also pay off.

Coming out of Coronado High School, Hardy opted for the G League instead of college. As a high schooler, Hardy was known for his prolific scoring ability, putting up over 30 a night during his last season.

As he transitioned to the G League, Hardy was definitely going to have to adjust in a hurry, as he’d be playing against professionals rather than college competition. The transition was less than ideal, to say the least.

Hardy went from a guy who had high lottery hopes to now being projected as a late-first rounder.

Hardy’s season in the G League saw his scoring efficiency drop tremendously, as he only shot 35 percent from the field and 27 percent from beyond the arc. Coming in, Hardy was a kid who could pull up from 35 feet and knock it down, reminiscent of a Damian Lillard type.

The 6-foot-4 guard could certainly profile as the inconsistent type, a la Coby White, which makes this pick even scarier. However, his skill set and mentality are that of a true scorer, and it might just take him a little time to continue adjusting to the pro game.

Last year, Hardy told ESPN that he felt he was the best player in the draft class. Sure, that was before his disappointing season in the G League. But, again, his mentality is that of a star. The question is, can he put it all together?

Hardy is extremely raw, and will take some time to develop. Decision-making is not his strong suit and, obviously, his shooting needs some consistency. But, his ability to potentially play either guard spot makes him someone worth attempting to develop.

Let’s say Hardy takes a year or two but finally catches up to his potential as a legit bucket-getter. If he’s someone who can occasionally pour it in like a Jordan Poole, but just took a little time, then Hardy is well-worth the risk.

The Bulls could end up needing one more guard this offseason, and if they want to take a shot on a boom-or-bust prospect, Hardy is definitely that guy.

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