Knicks’ energizing forward could have a new role

New York Knicks guard Josh Hart (3) reacts after being ejected from the game during the second half against the Indiana Pacers at Madison Square Garden
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Hart could be looking at a new role with the New York Knicks for the 2023-24 NBA season, and he’s up for the challenge.

Josh Hart shares insight into new role he will be playing this season

Hart told Stefan Bondy of the New York Post that matchups will predicate how he is utilized in the front court, and that being disciplined in keeping athletic forwards “off the glass” and out of their comfort zone rather than looking for takeaways will enable him to contain some of the league’s best at the position.

“It all depends on the matchup. Obviously, when I’m on the perimeter, I can go read the ball, try to figure that out. If I’m playing the 4, my main focus might not be going to get the ball. It might be making sure whoever it is, someone like [the Nuggets’] Aaron Gordon, who’s just a good offensive rebounder — strong and athletic — trying to make sure he’s off the glass [by boxing him out].”

Josh Hart via The New York Post

Hart brings a dynamic skillset to the Knicks

Hart has been an exceptional rebounder for the entirety of his brief NBA career despite being 6-4. His 7.8 boards last season was second among all shooting guards behind Oklahoma City rookie Josh Giddey, and third among small forwards, trailing Boston Celtics MVP candidate Jayson Tatum and Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James.

Prior to joining the Knicks, Portland Trail Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups featured Hart as a rim-running small forward who had the liberty to push the ball in transition for easy opportunities and initiate offense for his teammates.

Hart thrived in attacking the middle of the floor and finding shooters. Offensively, there has been no sign that Hart can produce points against larger defenders. Defensively, questions come into play.

Hart will have his hands full among the trees with post-friendly power forwards such as Bobby Portis and Montrezl Harrell in the East. Across the rest of the league, the majority of power forwards come as small forwards in disguise, so Hart will have to do his dirty work in contesting on the perimeter and running slashers off the three-point line.

The Knicks could be making some crucial lineup changes

Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau announced Quentin Grimes as the starting shooting guard for the 2023-24 season but has not shut the door on the lineup seeing changes as the season progresses. Regardless of Hart’s official designated position, Knicks fans can expect him to bring the same intensity as he’ll likely see time at several positions.

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