After trading the #28 pick to the Utah Jazz for the #30 and #42 picks, the Lakers selected Villanova SG Josh Hart at #30.
Hart, at 22 years old and 4 year player at ‘Nova, offers a complete skill set, good size (6’5″, 209 pounds, and a 6’8″ wingspan), high character, and a reputation as a “winner” for his contributions to the 2016 NCAA Championship Wildcats team. Last season Hart also pulled off a nice double-double by being named the player and defensive player of year for the Big East while also being named as a 3rd Team All-American.
Those intangibles give Hart a strong reputation, but it’s his game and production that should stand out more. Hart stuffed the stat sheet in his senior season, averaging 18.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 2.9 assists a night. He shot 40.4% from behind the arc on over 5 attempts a game and hit nearly 58% of his two point field goal attempts as well. Add this to his defensive ability and reputation and you’ve got the type of prospect who, by the metrics, is quite the intriguing prospect.
In fact, by ESPN’s Kevin Pelton’s projections, Hart was one of the better players in the entire draft:
The L.A. Lakers will get my favorite sleeper at No. 30 in Villanova's Josh Hart, who ranked eighth in my stats-only projections.
— Kevin Pelton (@kpelton) June 23, 2017
In terms of fit on the Lakers, Hart projects to be a part of their guard rotation next season. Their current depth at that spot consists of Jordan Clarkson and David Nwaba, so there should be minutes for the taking, especially now that Russell is out of the fold and the possibility that Clarkson plays at least some of his minutes at PG. Beyond just the need for bodies at that spot, though, Hart’s skill set is in severe need on this roster. When looking at the venn diagram of Lakers’ team needs, Hart has potential to fill at least the shooting/defense holes, with his ability to move the ball also checking off the passing box.
Overall, then, I’m a fan of this pick. Yes, Hart is an older prospect, but like Larry Nance and Tarik Black before him, that could lend itself to early returns with fewer growing pains as at least a part time rotation player with room for more. Now, enjoy his “strengths” video from Draft Express and let me know what you think of the pick in the comments.
I really like the Hart pick at number 30. He reminds me of a Danny Green or Courtney Lee, and he is going to be solid. He has good fundamentals on both offense and defense, though not particularly excelling at any one skill. I think he will contribute right away and heck, I think he could even start alongside Ball with Clarkson still coming off the bench.
Dario, do you see already a difference in Magic and Rob’s and Luke”s leadership? I see them picking high character guys–though Brandon Ingram fits that description. High character is so important but if leaders don’t have it then they can’t recognize it.
It looks like the Lakers drafted the anti-Russell. He is a 4 year player instead of a one and done, he has a national championship, he is a high character person, he is a strong defender (I like the high-low hands on defense), and he finishes strong at the rim. I could see him starting by the all-star break. His transition defense looks a lot like Lonzo’s highlights, they could really boost the Lakers transition game both ways.
A Horse With No Name says
Hart’s IQ, all around game, winning mentality and toughness makes this a very solid pick at 30. Much like Malcom Brogdan of the Bucks, teams are likely going to regret passing on this combo guard talent. Impressive analytics match the eye test.
Thanks for the write up and the video. Hart looks smart and tough, but a little slow for the pros and not particularly athletic. will see how he adjusts to the pro game. Seems well worth the gamble.
In looking at players the Lakers looked at before the draft, I thought Hart was someone who they would definitely be thinking of at the end of the 1st round. He is a tough 3&D guard and, as a senior, he would likely be able to immediately integrate into the club – even if his ceiling isn’t higher than a rotation player. With Ball and Hart we have replenished our guard core and picked up our defense.
With Kuzma we have added a wing with power, rebounding, and a 3pt shot.
With Bryant we have a development center who could become a 2nd team staple in future years.
Quite a haul for a draft where we weren’t sure we would get more than a #28 pick a couple of months ago. This draft may be short on stars, but we may get quite a few rotation players out of it.
I still look for the Lakers to sign a vet SG in FA on a short deal.. Someone to pick up the scoring and minutes of Russell and Nick.
This was a long suffering night for me. Hart is the only pick of the night I really like. I think Hart will be a very nice role player out of the gates and at the 30th pick that’s good. Great set of skills able to do anything you could want of him.
Josh Hart will be a solid addition to the team. He will hit the ground running because of his experience, maturity and versatility. We definitely need a guard with his skill-set. Thank goodness we are finally getting some DEFENSE.
Hart was a first team all America in 2017. Third team in 2016.