Four-year Villanova guard Josh Hart has been selected by the Los Angeles Lakers to close out the opening round. Though undersized, he brings shooting and scoring ability.
The Lakers have drafted Josh Hart with the final pick of the first round. The team’s wheeling and dealing continued into Thursday, as it acquired the 30th and 42nd picks from Utah in exchange for the No. 28 pick. While it is unclear where Hart fits into the team’s long-term plans, he is a skilled shooter and scorer. The reigning Big East Player of the Year is undersized at 6-foot-5 and is already 22 years old after playing four years at Villanova, but he’s widely seen as a smart, reliable player. In other words, he doesn’t have the highest ceiling as far as prospects go, but his floor is also higher than most. You could say he’s a somewhat low-risk, low-reward pick who could potentially help the Lakers acquire Paul George.
Given the recent departure of D’Angelo Russell, if Hart remains in the City of Angels, the Lakers will hope he can solidify their depth at the guard position. Hart is ostensibly a combo guard, who can comfortably handle the ball but is probably more suited to playing off-ball and spotting up at the NBA level. He figures to back up Jordan Clarkson and Lonzo Ball.
Hart is certain to generate comparisons to Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon, who, like Hart, spent four years in college and stands at 6-5. As an early second-round pick last year, Brogdon turned in a strong rookie season in Milwaukee. Both are smart, tenacious defenders who do a quality job of diagnosing what opposing offenses are running at them. Brogdon’s 6-11 wingspan, however, makes it much easier for him to impose his will defensively in an NBA game. What Hart lacks in physical tools, he makes up for in passion and intensity. En route to the 2016 NCAA National Championship, Hart led the Wildcats to a blowout Final Four victory over the Oklahoma Sooners, hitting 10-of-12 from the field. Can he translate his scoring skills to the next level for the Lakers? Stay tuned.
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