Hart Can Score, But He’d Rather Sacrifice – NBA.com


MIAMI, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 07: Josh Hart #11 of the Portland Trail Blazers celebrates after hitting the game winning shot against the Miami Heat

Casey Holdahl

November 8, 20227:02 PM PST

Josh Hart, like nearly all NBA players, wouldn’t mind getting a few more shots up. Through 10 games, the 6-4 guard/forward in his sixth season out of Villanova is averaging career-highs in rebounds (8.6 per game) and assists (5.0 per game) though he’s taking half as many shots this season as he did in his initial 13 games with the Trail Blazers after being acquired via trade from the New Orleans Pelicans.

But Hart’s near singular focus on winning, something the Trail Blazers did infrequently last season, vastly supersedes his desire for more shot attempts.

“Offensively, my role is different than what it was last year, what it was in New Orleans the year prior,” said Hart. “When you want to win, you’ve got to sacrifice. I would love to be out there shooting 10, 12, 13 shots a game and doing stuff like that, but at the end of the day, if you want to win, guys are going to have to sacrifice, guys are going to have to play different roles to help the team. On a night where it’s needed I feel like I can step up and do that but if you want to win, guys got to sacrifice. I’m fully committed to winning. ”

Which is why Hart, despite being a bit prickly at times, is beloved and appreciated by both his teammates and coaches, because if nothing else, he always has his priorities straight.

Josh Hart: “That’s the one thing about this team, we’re going to fight and we’re going to be gritty”

“It’s the reason why we value him so high, why we love him is you don’t have to ever call a play for Josh Hart,” said Trail Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups. “He’s going to manufacture scoring, he’s going to manufacture plays. But what he really wants to do is he wants to guard the best player, he wants to go in there and get those gritty rebounds, he wants to do all the little things that most people shy away from. That’s what Josh wants to do.”

And the opportunities eventually come when you play the right way, as was the case Monday night, with Hart taking and making the the game-winning three as time expired in Monday night’s 110-107 victory versus the Heat in Miami. Hart filled up the stat sheet prior to taking the making the final shot of the game, posting nine rebounds, eight assists and two steals in 37 minutes. When you’re able to affect winning the way Hart does without scoring, teammates take notice.

“He’s just a winning player, I think that’s the best way to describe him,” said Damian Lillard, who has made no secret about his affinity for Hart. “I think his last name is the perfect last name for him. He rebounds like he’s seven foot, he’s always in the passing lanes, he’s physical, he’s playing hard, passionate, cares about winning and doesn’t care about shots.

“But I think when you play the game the right way, you do things the right way, it gives you favor or the Basketball Gods, as they say, are on your side when you play the game the way he does. That’s the reward for that, him playing the game the way he plays, not being worried about shots and then you get the biggest shot of the game and you knock it down.”