How Josh Hart is having the best season of his career

Josh Hart #3 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Josh Hart #3 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

The New Orleans Pelicans are suddenly rolling, partly because of the play of Josh Hart.

Hart made himself a fan-favorite in New Orleans because of his hustle and personality, but coming into this season, the Pels needed more than just diving on the floor and grabbing rebounds.

I wrote that Josh Hart could be a 6th man of the year candidate if he could just improve his 3-point shooting, as he was already one of the best rebounding guards in the NBA, a good defender and one of those “glue guys” that every team needs.

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It turns out I was wrong, as Josh Hart has made himself even more valuable to the Pelicans this season without improving from beyond the arc.

Josh Hart is not shooting as many 3-point shots for the Pelicans

If you just looked at Hart’s 3-point shooting stats, you’d think he was having a disappointing season, as he is only making 31.7 percent, lowest of his career.

I thought Hart would need to hit closer to 40 percent to have a real impact, as he hadn’t shown himself to be very effective in the half court otherwise and we knew he was going to get a ton of open looks with Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson on the floor.

But without Zion, the Pels turned to Josh Hart in the starting lineup and he is getting it done without the benefit of the long-range shot.

Hart is only taking 2.4 attempts from 3-point range per game, lowest of his career, but he has made up for it by shooting 59.6 percent from 2-point range, doing his best Zion Williamson imitation.

Hart has been aggressive taking the ball to the rim and he is making much better decisions when he gets there, either going up strong, or dishing to open teammates, part of the reason he is averaging 4.3 assists per game, best of his career.

Hart’s 2-point attempts are up from 3.2 last season to six this season and he is also getting to the line 2.8 times per game, highest of his career, a testament to how strong he’s been in the paint.

It’s a joy to watch Josh Hart play and I am glad he has found a way to have the best season of his career without shooting a ton of 3-pointers.

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