Fading Fast: Josh Hart
The New York Knicks are known for having a strong bench under Tom Thibodeau, often to the point that the bench performs better than the starters in many games. Things have not been as clear-cut this season, in large part because some combinations of players have worked extremely well, and others simply have not.
Unfortunately for the Knicks, the combinations with Josh Hart and other starters have bombed to start the season. When Hart has shared the court with any combination of Jalen Brunson, Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson, the Knicks have had a negative net rating.
Hart has played 55 minutes in RJ Barrett’s place with the other starters, and those lineups have a -18.6 net rating and can’t score the basketball (The Knicks’ starting lineup as a whole has a +10.3 net rating for the season).
Hart is supposed to be the ultimate glue guy, a versatile defender and rebounder who can guard up or down, fitting in at whatever position a team asks of him. He hasn’t been able to find his groove this season, shooting a career-worst from the field (35.3 percent) and three-point range (25 percent), and that anemic offense has prevented his defense and rebounding from helping the Knicks when he is on the court.
As with multiple other players on the team, it’s reasonable to expect them to start shooting better. Hart likely will do that. Zooming out, however, Hart’s never been a sniper, and at some point, the number of below-average shooters will weigh down the rotation and remove the lineup versatility this team is supposed to have.