Lakers News: Miles Simon Impressed By Alex Caruso, Josh Hart In Summer League
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

While second-year players typically participate in Summer League, the Los Angeles Lakers made it clear at the conclusion of the 2018 regular season that Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma would not play. But their fellow 2017 NBA Draft pick, Josh Hart, was slated to be included on the roster.

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Not only has Hart served as a veteran leader for the Lakers’ Summer League team, he’s fully embraced the opportunity to play. The team initially planned for Hart to appear in one game in Sacramento and one in Las Vegas.

He instead talked his way into more playing time, and the Lakers have reaped the benefits. On Thursday, Hart, along with Alex Caruso, led the way in a win over the Clippers, sending the Lakers to the quarterfinals with a 4-0 record in Las Vegas play.

“Those two guys are ultimate pros,” said Miles Simon, who’s serving as head coach in Summer League. “Guys that were regular rotation guys in our lineup, they know what the expectations are to play at a high level, and they set the tone every night.

“What I love is they don’t play too cool; like they’re not supposed to be here at Summer League. They’re here, and they work hard and they lead our group and set the tone on both ends of the floor for us with their talk, leadership and especially their toughness.”

Hart’s play has not only drawn praise from teammates and Simon, but Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson as well. He said on conference call that the 23-year-old was going to push for an opportunity to start this season.

At his interview to recap the 2017-18 season, Johnson said he wished he could assemble a roster full of players with Hart’s skill set and passion.

As it stands, Hart is averaging 22.5 points per game, 5.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists this summer. He’s widely considered a frontrunner to earn MVP honors in Las Vegas, which Ball took home last year.

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