Although Lonzo Ball is set to make his preseason debut Wednesday night, the Los Angeles Lakers might not yet be at full strength against the Golden State Warriors as Josh Hart is considered questionable.
Hart tweaked his hamstring during practice on Monday, which cut his day short, and was then held out Tuesday. “He wanted to practice today but it was tight still. I told him to sit out and watch, make sure he stays healthy,” Lakers head coach Luke Walton said.
“He’s very important to what we do. We want to start the season as healthy as we can be. It was more just being safe, not letting him go. We’ll re-evaluate in the morning at shootaround and all that stuff.”
If Hart is unable to play, it potentially would mark the end of the preseason for him. The Lakers would have another game with the Warriors on Friday, though being that it is the last of their exhibition schedule, the team may not elect to play much of their regulars.
Hart went into training camp in a battle with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for the starting role at shooting guard, and has been with the first unit for two of four preseason games. Walton has not tipped his hand thus far, praising both for their play at various points in recent weeks.
Hart dealt with injuries last summer, during the early stages of training camp, and again as the 2017-18 NBA season approached. It perhaps stunted some of his development but the 23-year-old went on to become an integral part of the Lakers’ young core.
“He was very important to our team last year and he’s continued to get better ever since we’ve had him,” Walton said.
“The way he works, what he does so well are the little things. The little things that help teams win that a lot of times don’t go down in stat sheets. Those are the things that, in my opinion, make Josh special.”
Hart is averaging 11.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 27 minutes per game during the preseason.
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