As the offseason draws on, Team USA begins workouts for FIBA World Cup, and the Knicks have multiple representatives on the national team. One of those representatives is fan-favorite Josh Hart, who came over in a deal with the Portland TrailBlazers at last season’s trade deadline. The Knicks immediately took off upon his addition to the rotation, as he came off the bench and gave the Knicks some much-needed shooting and defense, with an on-court intensity rivaled by few in the NBA
His tenacious play and seamless fit into any lineup made him a must-keep for Leon Rose and the New York Knicks, who saw him pick up his player option in hopes of a long-term extension. When asked about the subject of staying in New York came up, Hart was quick to speak glowingly about his time at Madison Square Garden, as he voiced a desire to stay with the team he’s quickly meshed with and has a fanbase that would love to have him for the foreseeable future
New York is where I want to be. It’s where I want to call home. I feel like that was the best decision to do.-Josh Hart, New York Post
With his desire to stay in New York and the Knicks’ on-court performance with Hart justifying a desire to retain him long-term, it seems like a matter of when, not if, the Knicks will give him a multi-year extension.
Making an Immediate Impact on the Knicks
Josh Hart averaged 10.2 Points per Game, shooting 51.9% from three on 2.1 attempts a game and averaging 7.0 boards as well per contest. While people point to the defense as his biggest impact, his offensive impact can’t be understated either. His offensive rebounding and playmaking, alongside efficient point production, made him a seamless fit for the starting and bench units since it allowed higher-volume scorers to get their looks and touches but gave them a secondary scoring option whenever it was needed.
Hart could always come up with a big shot, and the Knicks relied on his style of offense heavily for those transition baskets or late-game threes, much like the one he hit in Game 1 of their first-round matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He had a +10.3 On-Off Rating with the Knicks, and while he struggled to maintain his great play in the Miami series, he overall gave the Knicks exactly what they needed off of the bench.
He would frequently close with the starters, and his synergy with Jalen Brunson was noticed almost instantly. The Knicks added another Villanova guard in Donte DiVincenzo, who should help in their search for reliable shooters and defenders, and with the Knicks entering year two of the Brunson era, the full-season experience of Josh Hart on the Knicks could be one that yields great results for New York
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The Knicks were one of the best teams in basketball after acquiring Josh Hart and debuting him on February 11th, where they’d post the third-best record in the NBA (17-8) and rank top five in points per game as well. Over the course of a full season, they’d win 55-56 games with a .680 win rate, and while I don’t expect them to win close to 60 games, they should play extremely good basketball with better efficiency and defense in the upcoming season.
Josh Hart is a huge part of what the Knicks do, and if he wants to stay in New York, they should do everything they reasonably can to keep the 28-year-old Villanova product.