The New Orleans Pelicans off-season has been, if anything, interesting. There have been so many moving parts, but one piece of the puzzle that remains is Josh Hart.
Tuesday afternoon reports surfaced that the 26-year-old wing had agreed to a three-year/$38M deal to remain in New Orleans. The rumors were seemingly confirmed when Hart posted this hilarious GIF to his Twitter:
Hart is happy, clearly, but should the fans be? In a league where cap configuration has mattered like it never has before, every deal deserves a look under the microscope.
Is the Josh Hart deal good for the Pelicans?
Josh Hart is the epitome of a modern NBA “glue guy.” He is a slightly above-average player who takes a condensed role with a team to put them in the best position possible. Beyond that, he can make winning plays that would not appear on a traditional box score.
The NBA is a league where you can easily see players’ faces at all times. That explains how players develop such natural egos; understandably so.
Hart is someone who doesn’t pout when going a string of possessions without touching the ball and cares most about winning. These guys are few and far between in the current NBA, and the Pelicans are lucky to have someone of a dying breed.
Even then, intangibles can’t be the sole reason someone should make over $12M annually. That’s the thing with Hart – he’s a well-rounded player that fits the modern NBA.
His shot chart is comical, as it is primarily all around the arc and then within two feet of the basket. Hart isn’t as good of a shooter from downtown as one would expect looking at his shot tendencies, shooting just 32.6% from such distance last season. For reference, this is over 4% lower than the league average of 36.7%.
Hart provides no use in the mid-range, attempting the shot less than 10% of the time while on the court, which means he is only effective near the rim. He is more of a negative asset on offense than many realize.
On defense, it’s a different story. Hart is one of the better wing defenders in basketball, using his great stature paired with underrated athleticism to guard multiple positions. He also works so hard on the glass, which explains why he averaged 8 a game.
Hart is a decent basketball player with intangibles that are uncoachable. His offensive game is lackluster and, at times, a liability. His defense and effort help make up for his offensive woes, but not totally. Luckily for Hart, the Pelicans are one of the more gifted offensive units in basketball and don’t need him to score the ball.
It’s hard to imagine where else the money would go, but I would like the deal on a slightly cheaper annual salary. The salary cap has never mattered more, which means every dollar matters.
My Final Grade: B
If Hart can get closer to the league average from beyond the arc, this deal looks better. The fact he wanted to stay in New Orleans and play for the team should also mean something, and give him some serious brownie points.
I can’t wait to see how this ages and what Hart can accomplish in the next four seasons.