The Los Angeles Lakers have struggled with finding consistent players over the last handful of seasons. It has partially been due to injuries, but also due to personnel. When the Lakers drafted Josh Hart, he showed some promise in his rookie season. This season, he was injured and didn’t perform quite as well, but he was consistent with his production level from last season.
When Hart was healthy, he was one of the players who brought a lot of energy to the court when he played. His shooting would give the Lakers a boost and get the team excited at any given moment. While he did start 22 games this season, he mostly came off of the bench. He’s one of the young players who has a lot of miles left in his game and that’s the kind of player the Lakers should want to keep around.
Back in March, Josh Hart found himself out for the remainder of the season with a knee injury. You could tell that something was a little off for him. He wasn’t moving as well as usual and on March 28th, the Lakers announced that he underwent surgery for the injury.
BREAKING: Josh Hart underwent a successful ultrasonic debridement procedure on his right knee patellar tendon this morning.
⁰Hart is expected to make a full recovery and return to basketball activities in approximately 12 weeks. pic.twitter.com/Q5FzDmrYjO
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) March 28, 2019
Hart missed the rest of the season, but he’ll be able to work on recovering and getting back to his usual self in the offseason. That’ll be good for the Lakers to have one of their main role players healthy for the beginning of next season.
Hart’s stat line mostly took a dive due to his poor shooting from the perimeter. After hitting nearly 40 percent of his attempts from behind the arc in his rookie season, Hart only managed to shoot 33.6 percent this year. The poor shooting seemed to correlate with his lingering knee injuries, as Hart made only about one-quarter of his deep attempts after the New Year, after making 39 percent of them in his first 37 appearances.
Hart can be pesky on defense when he needs to be. In a January game against the Dallas Mavericks, Hart stole the ball from them five times. He’s not a guy who is going to block the ball left and right, but he averaged 0.6 rejections per game this season, which is better than the 0.3 from the previous season.
Hart struggled some defending quicker opponents on the perimeter but with his energy and surprisingly great interior defense, he was able to have a mostly positive effect. The Lakers need good defenders; when Hart is healthy, he has what it takes to make an impact on that end.
After being plagued by trade rumors, the young Lakers had a tough time. Hart found the situation annoying and I hope the Lakers don’t trade all of their young players away in the offseason. The team option for Hart was exercised back in October, so he would be on the books for just under $2 million for the 2019-2020 season. With him still being on a rookie contract, that’s a great value for the Lakers right now.