Josh Hart had his handprints all over a New York Knicks victory inside of a raucous Madison Square Garden on the second night of a back-to-back against the Utah Jazz. The final score was 126-120 in favor of the Knicks. The suddenly new crowd favorite had 11-points to go along with 7- rebounds, 4-assists, and 4-steals during his Knicks debut. The newly acquired guard from the Portland Trailblazers immediately leveled up the physicality of an already tough New York Knicks team on both ends of the court.
While some Knick fans were saddened as they watched former Knick Cam Reddish start and score 11-points in his Portland Trailblazer Friday night debut against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Josh Hart was preparing for his own moment under the bright lights of MSG. The Villanova product was prepared as he shared the court with the Knicks second unit Saturday night. Hart’s intensity and unusual display of strength for a guard of his stature on defense, and in the rebounding category, highlights the sense of urgency the 27-year old plays the game with. 23-year old Cam Reddish simply didn’t display that same grit during his time as a Knick unless he was having a good offensive game. Is Cam Reddish a good player? Absolutely! Josh Hart is a good player as well. However, Josh Hart also has a chance to be the heart and soul of a physical Knicks brand of basketball, similar to what John Starks was to the 90’s Knicks. The New York Knickerbockers are already one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the league. Adding Josh Hart to the mix is huge. In addition to Hart’s importance on the court, the Knicks are still missing another dominant defender and rebounder in Mitchell Robinson. It will be a treat watching a healthy Mitchell Robinson and Josh Hart on the floor together doing all the intangibles on both ends to help the Knicks win future close battles in the regular season and hopefully the playoffs.
Former Knick Cam Reddish is a highly skilled wing player, however, the former Duke baller has never been known to be a consistently high energy hustle player that’ll add significant intangibles to Tom Thibodeau’s defense and board crashing. Cam Reddish doesn’t have a nose for the ball like Josh Hart does. In close games, there are many times a rebound or a defensive stop and straight basketball IQ can seal the deal. Even though Cam Reddish can be a phenomenal lengthy perimeter defender when locked in, Josh Hart is better suited for those close game situations due to experience and overall consistent intensity.
The Jalen Brunson/Josh Hart Reunion Could Go A Long Way For The Knicks
Villanova’s Head Coach Jay Wright coached both Hart and Brunson at Villanova, which means they’re use to winning. Villanova won the NCAA championship with those two on the roster. Could their reunion on the Knicks go a long way? Could the deadline trade for Josh Hart help the Knicks get into the playoffs and win a series? If so, trading Reddish and a potential late first round pick would be worth it.
Not only is it a reunion for Brunson, Josh Hart and Julius Randle share a reunion also due to their single season as teammates while playing for the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2017-18 NBA season.
Josh Hart Could Positively Impact Knicks Second Unit & Provide Thibodeau With A Different Level Of Comfort With Rotational Minutes.
Josh Hart’s overall play with the Knicks second unit could allow Tom Thibodeau to play the bench for longer stretches, which would allow more rest for starters like Randle and Brunson. If Josh Hart continues being a pest against the opposition by coming up with steals and defensive rebounds, his activity will speed up the pace which is where Immanuel Quickley and Obi Toppin thrive. Unlocking Obi Toppin’s strengths is a crucial possibility and Josh Hart could help Obi Toppin tremendously even though he’s not a point guard. The high basketball IQ of Hart could bode well for Obi Toppin’s offensive game, especially if Hart provides more fast break attempts by continuing to specialize in pushing the pace on offense after he grabs defensive rebound.
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