The second-year player is beginning to turn heads with his play, but how high can he go?
The Josh Hart hype train picked up steam over the summer; the 6″5 shooting guard decided he was going to play summer league for the second straight year, even though he had no business being there. Hart would go on to win the 2018 Summer League MVP award, averaging 22 points and about four rebounds per game, and leading the Los Angeles Lakers squad to the finals.
Even last season Hart played solid whenever Luke Walton called upon him, giving one-hundred percent every time on the court. The numbers might not always be there, but he will play with tons of energy while on the floor, doing all the little things that don’t show up in the box score. Diving for balls, taking charges, making the right rotations are the types of things that help a team win, but don’t usually get discussed.
While early, so far this season Josh Hart has almost doubled his points per game output, going from 7.9 points per game to 14.5 this season. His minutes per game is up from 23 per game to 31, and three-point percentage 42 percent this season compared to 39 percent the previous.
New York Knicks legend shooting guard John Starks is somebody that comes to mind when thinking of Josh Hart, while it would be lovely for Hart to turn into the next James Harden, realistically a 21st century Starks would be a massive win for the Lakers. The prime years for John Starks would 1992- 1997, lucky enough to compete with pre-and post-baseball Michael Jordan.
During the mid-nineties, Starks would: win Sixth Man of the Year award in 1996, Eastern Conference All-Star in 1994, the All-Defensive 2nd team in 1993, and led the league in three-pointers made in 1995. This guy was also fearless on the court, never backing down from Jordan and the nineties Chicago Bulls, while also dishing it right back at times.
The two are comparable because Josh Hart is a tough shooting guard, with an excellent three-point shot who will go toe to toe with anyone. What Starks has is deceptive athletic ability as well, something he and Josh Hart also share. Raising his ceiling to higher than Starks would require Hart to develop a midrange game, along with more playmaking, something not seen from him yet.
Already proving himself starting lineup worthy, Hart will get the minutes he needs to develop and grow as a player. Playing next to Lebron James will expedite his growth, giving him better looks the basket than he could ever dream of getting. How Josh Hart can rise depends on the work he puts in, with a little of good fortune along the way.