In today’s NBA, there is one key factor that separates the good from the bad. Whether it be the Utah Jazz, San Antonio Spurs or the Golden State Warriors, defense is key. Josh Hart’s defense makes him the Los Angeles Lakers secret weapon. Selected 30th overall in this years draft, Hart is currently a role player in Los Angeles. However, the rookies’ skill set makes him a potential impact player for the Lakers.
Josh Hart is the Los Angeles Lakers Secret Weapon
Defense is Key
One of the leagues worst defensive teams last season, the Lakers drafted Hart to help in that area. Ranked 26th in opposition three-point percentage, Los Angeles added Hart because of his perimeter defense. A competitive defender, Hart brings size and length to a defensive unit that was lacklustre at best.
All rookies look for a mentor when they enter the league. A player they can look up to and learn from. Hart has fifth-year guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, a player known for his defensive know-how. It’s unknown whether or not Caldwell-Pope will remain with the team long-term but Hart should learn a lot this coming season.
This team was awful defensively last season, leading to head coach Luke Walton setting a precedent on the first day of practice. Day one was defense only, with Walton setting the tone. In an interview with ESPN Los Angeles, Walton had this to say:
“Defense is everything. Defense defense defense, because we want to run. We want to run every opportunity we have, but it’s a lot easier to run when you’re getting stops, and you’re not taking the ball out of the net.”
Luke Walton on Josh Hart: "He's tough, man. He loves to mix it up."
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) October 14, 2017
An All-Around Talent
Defense isn’t the only talent Hart brings to the table, with the 22-year-old capable of shooting the three ball. In his final year in College, Hart shot over 40 percent from beyond the arc. If shooting and defense are your two key skills, you belong in today’s NBA. Hart is a three and D player, making him an asset off the bench.
Hart’s defensive and shooting abilities are a perfect fit in Los Angeles. Ranked 22nd in three-point shooting last season, the Lakers need players like Hart. Trading for Brook Lopez and drafting Kyle Kuzma will help the cause, with GM Rob Pelinka not just looking to add shooters, but willing runners as well. With the team lacking defensive specialists, Hart will be welcomed in Los Angeles after what was a dreadful 2016-17 season.
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) August 15, 2017
Hart’s Impact in the Rotation
Starting the season as a bench contributor, Hart could find himself making bigger contributions as the season goes on. The future of Caldwell-Pope is uncertain, with the veteran guard appearing to be a one-year rental. Josh Hart’s defense and shooting capabilities will give him the opportunity to fight for a starting place, if or when Caldwell-Pope is traded. Clarkson is considered the teams Sixth Man going forward, leaving the door open for the rookie to make an early impact.
Three-ball shooting, defensive stopper, hard working and motivated; If that’s not an NBA player, what is?
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