Josh Hart’s approach to the game didn’t change after being dealt to the New York Knicks at last year’s NBA trade deadline, and his play has garnered praise from one of the best to ever do it in the orange and blue.
Josh Hart Brings John Starks Leveled Grit to the Knicks
Knicks legend John Starks spoke with Mill Media and lauded Hart for his defensive tenacity and passion on the basketball floor:
“He plays with a lot of heart,” said Starks. “He’s known as a defensive player, and that’s what I was known as.”
Starks holds a special place in the hearts of basketball fans in the city of New York. He helped lead the Knicks to the 1994 NBA Finals. They were on the verge of their first championship since 1973 before dropping Game 7 to the Houston Rockets.
Known as a warrior on the court, Starks was a dynamic scorer who was not afraid to dunk on your favorite player and let him know about it afterward. He embodied the grit of 1990s basketball and shared a lot of qualities with Hart, namely his ability to push the ball and get to the rim with verve.
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Similarities and Differences Between the Two Knicks Players
It’s not far-fetched to put Hart’s name next to the former 1994 All-Star and 1997 Sixth Man of the Year. Hart wears many hats for New York as an exceptional rebounder and initiator of fast-break offense.
Hart’s talent in making quick decisions off the catch and finding spaces in the half-court to get easy layups is comparable to Starks’ quick first step when driving middle or baseline for emphatic finishes.
Hart has some more refining to do to his offensive game to live up to being the scorer that Starks was in his prime, as the latter was proficient at creating his own shot off the dribble and in isolation.
However, Hart’s 1.4 steals in his first season in the Big Apple is reminiscent of Starks — who averaged over 1.0 steals in every season with the Knicks, including a career-high 1.6 takeaways in that storied ’94 campaign.
The high praise from Knicks royalty will surely give Hart a boost in confidence as the team’s preseason is underway in preparation for opening night on Oct. 25 against the Boston Celtics.