When the New York Knicks signed Josh Hart to a four-year, $81 million extension this past off-season, his role was meant to support the bench and even start games when needed. Unfortunately, Hart has been out of rhythm to start the season and sometimes disregarded by head coach Tom Thibodeau.
In fact, Hart stated that Thibodeau was misusing him, and without a bit of rhythm in his game, he wasn’t able to provide consistent results.
On the year, Hart is averaging 7.7 points, including 6.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists, shooting .445 from the field with a .308 three-point rate. However, he put together a big game against the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday night, quelling any lingering doubt.
“I’m a rhythm player. So sometimes if I don’t touch the ball for four or five minutes running up and down the floor, just catch-and-shoot, I might as well be playing with a football,” Hart said. “I feel like I have no feel for [the ball]. There are definitely times I [pass up shots] because I’m not in the rhythm. I don’t like the feel of it.”
The Knicks Need To Give Josh Hart More Chances
Hart is averaging 28.4 minutes per game, his lowest total since the 2019–20 season with the New Orleans Pelicans. However, he played 30 minutes against the Hornets, shooting 7-of-10 from the field and 2-of-3 from downtown, enjoying 17 points and a +25 +/-. He also tacked on six rebounds, two assists, a steal, and a block.
We saw the vintage version of Josh Hart against Charlotte, but he will be looking to string together some consistent performances that allow him to get back in rhythm and rejuvenate his confidence.
However, Hart also noted a similar reality for shooting guard Quentin Grimes, who has been displaced at times. This year, Grimes is averaging 23.7 minutes per game and 6.7 points on .383 shooting from the field. Thibodeau has leaned towards newly signed free agent Donte DiVincenzo, a sharpshooter with good defense. DiVincenzo is averaging 8.3 points and shooting .398 from the field with a .390 hit rate from downtown.
It is a long season, and Thibodeau will certainly have his favorites, but the Knicks are still trying to find the right balance between playmakers, so it is no surprise that Hart is feeling the result of that, but his big game on Tuesday certainly should help him get into the rotation a bit more.