2018-2019 Lakers Season Review: Josh Hart
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Every team with big aspirations needs high-level role players that can step up and make big plays when they need them. It appears the Los Angeles Lakers have found one in Josh Hart, who they selected with the No. 30 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.

As an NCAA champion with Villanova, the Lakers hoped that Hart’s extensive college experience would allow him to be more NBA-ready than younger players like Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma. After a solid rookie season, Hart was determined to prove himself for the 2018-19 NBA season and got things off to a great start when he was named the Las Vegas Summer League Most Valuable Player.

Not only was Hart’s on-court production critical for that team but he also assumed a leadership role. Hart’s defensive intensity contributed in a game the Summer League team played in which they would count the number of consecutive defensive stops they could get.

As the regular season began, the Lakers saw Hart — who shot 40% from the three-point line as a rookie — as a key reason why they could get away with not targeting shooters in free agency. Unfortunately, after a start that was on-par with the shooting that Hart displayed as a rookie and during Summer League, lingering knee issues ultimately sank his sophomore season.

In 2019, Hart wasn’t able to get his legs into his shot and his percentages plummeted. As the Lakers were slammed by one stroke of misfortune after another, Hart valiantly attempted to fight through his knee issues, but ultimately saw his season cut short when it was determined that surgery would be the best option.

Highlight Of The 2018-19 Lakers Season

Hart overpowers De’Aaron Fox to get the bucket.

Looking Ahead

When healthy, there’s a lot to like about Hart. He can shoot efficiently from behind the arc and has the ability to put the ball on the floor and attack the rim. He tends to jump off the wrong foot when finishing, but his body control and physical strength allow him to finish through contact.

Hart is also an intriguing defender. His lateral quickness isn’t great, which makes it difficult for him to cover particularly quick perimeter players. On the flip side, Hart’s strength allows him to battle much bigger players in the post and hold his own, which allows the Lakers to play small ball when the opportunity presents itself.

On a contract that pays him just over $5 million total over the next two seasons, Hart is an excellent value for the Lakers and should continue to improve if he can get past his knee issues. His ceiling is likely lower than Ball, Kuzma, or Brandon Ingram, but Hart is still a valuable piece — especially when his contract is factored in. Hart’s name is likely to pop up in trade rumors, but he’s an excellent fit alongside LeBron James, so it would be surprising to see him dealt unless it’s in a package for an All-Star player.

You May Also Like

Lakers News: Gregg Popovich Praises LeBron James For ‘Commitment To Excellence’ In His Career

LeBron James celebrated his 36th birthday with a victory as the Los Angeles Lakers took out the San Antonio Spurs 121-107…

Anthony Davis Signs With Klutch Sports, Now Shares Agent With LeBron James

New Orleans Pelicans All-Star Anthony Davis has officially joined Klutch Sports, the agency announced Sunday…

Lakers News: LeBron James Game-Time Decision; Brandon Ingram, Rajon Rondo Available To Play Vs. Pelicans

As LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers prepare for Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans, there is controversy heading into their first matchup. With conflicting reports…

Lakers News: Alfonzo McKinnie Says It Was ‘A Little Weird’ Playing Without Fans

When the Los Angeles Lakers were dealing with a multitude of injuries throughout the regular season, it opened up opportunities…