Knicks getting great value from Josh Hart in past week

nba: new york knicks at cleveland cavaliers, josh hart
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, New York Knicks backup forward Josh Hart made headlines for his comments sounding off on a lack of usage. Since then, however, he has bounced back in a big way and is making positive contributions to the Knicks.

Josh Hart has been on a tear recently

Over his last three games, Hart is averaging 13.7 points and seven rebounds per contest and is shooting 66.7% from the floor and 66.7% from three-point range while coming off of the bench.

On Friday against the Raptors, he had arguably his best game of the season so far with a 17-point effort, including a three-and-a-half minute stretch in the third quarter where he scored 15 straight Knicks points. He also logged eight rebounds and knocked three triples in the victory over Toronto.

This is a remarkable turnaround from his first 16 games this season, where he averaged just 7.1 points shooting just 42% from the floor and 28% from three-point range.

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What has changed for Hart?

Hart was asked what has changed since he made those stirring comments about his role on the team after Tuesday’s win over the Hornets.

“Just making quick decisions, I think that was the biggest thing just whether I was open or whether the shooter drove or swung the ball,” said Hart, per Ian Begley of SNY. “Not trying to be too calculated and just play.”

Through the early parts of the season, Hart appeared to be hesitant to shoot the ball on seemingly open looks, and he struggled to create much offense for the rest of his team when he wasn’t scoring. However, it seems that he has grown more confident over the past week, as he is willing to take more shots both inside and outside the arc, which is a big factor in their three-game winning streak.

The Knicks are relying on Hart more than ever

With Quentin Grimes continuing to struggle and RJ Barrett slumping since his return from a migraine spell, the Knicks have needed Hart to step up more than ever, and he has delivered.

Last season, Hart was a cog in the system the moment he was traded to New York at the deadline, and the hope is that now he will once again become a reliable depth piece in the second unit.

Hart will look to continue this stretch of strong play when the Knicks take on the Milwaukee Bucks in the quarterfinals of the in-season tournament on Tuesday.

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