After an 0-3 start to the 2018-19 NBA season, Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton inserted Josh Hart into the starting lineup, and they have won both games since.
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Although all the attention has been on Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Lonzo Ball, Hart has continued his strong play from the Las Vegas Summer League as integral member of the team’s young core.
Through five games, Hart is averaging 15.6 points (50.9 percent from the field and 44.8 percent from the three-point line) and 5.2 rebounds.
While the Lakers have been tempering expectations, Hart openly discussed the team’s potential and end goal. “We have the potential to be a very, very good team,” he said.
“We’re not focused on the first game of the season, the second game of the season. We’re making progress and we’re focused on making a deep run in the playoffs. That’s what we’re building towards. That’s the attention to detail and the habits we’re building towards.”
With eight new players, the Lakers are slowly learning how to play together and are establishing their identity. In any other situation, there would be patience with the young core, but LeBron James’ arrival naturally brings championship expectations.
To their credit, Hart and company have worked extremely hard during the offseason and the results are starting to show. Most importantly, they are willing learners and James, Rajon Rondo, and the new free agent signings have praised them for their effort.