Josh Hart clarifies seemingly critical comments about Knicks’ offense
Josh Hart looks to be doing some damage control after speaking his mind.
The New York Knicks guard Hart said the quiet part out loud this week by seemingly airing out his frustrations about his role in the team’s offense. Speaking with reporters, Hart indicated that he feels less involved in the offensive gameplan than he did last season.
“I’m a rhythm player,” said Hart, per Stefan Bondy of the New York Post. “So sometimes if I don’t touch the ball for four or five minutes running up and down the floor, just catch-and-shoot, I might as well be playing with a football.
“I feel like I have no feel for [the ball],” he added. “There are definitely times I [pass up shots] because I’m not in the rhythm. I don’t like the feel of it.”
Hart had also said after a practice earlier in the week that he did not feel “included” in the offense and that he wanted to get in the lane and create shots instead of just serving as a spot-up shooter.
The comments from Hart drew a response from Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau, who told reporters that Hart’s usage rate and ball-handling opportunities this season were actually up.
Tom Thibodeau was asked about Josh Hart saying he felt left out on offense:
"His usage is up. He's handling the ball more. The way he's being used is not any different than last year…We talk all the time. Do what's best for the team. Be mentally tough" pic.twitter.com/4cqWoeeRPW
— Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) November 28, 2023
The Knicks’ In-Season Tournament victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday, which clinched them a berth in the eight-team knockout round, seems to have changed Hart’s mind a little bit though. Hart, who finished with a season-high 17 points on 7-for-10 shooting, emphasized multiple times during his postgame interview that he was not disgruntled.
Josh Hart finished his postgame availability with the following request: “Just so you know, I’m not a disgruntled player. Make sure y’all tweet that shit. Josh Hart said he’s not disgruntled.”
— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) November 29, 2023
The 28-year-old Hart, who is in his second season on the Knicks, put up 10.2 points a game for them last year. But even with Tuesday’s strong outing, he is still at a career-low 7.7 points per contest this season. Hart has had a role change with the Knicks and is seeing more backup power forward minutes since Obi Toppin left in NBA free agency. Former Villanova teammate Donte DiVincenzo also arrived in New York over the offseason and is getting more shot attempts than Hart off the bench as the superior three-point shooter.
Hart’s best assets are his defense and his rebounding, which betters suits him for a role-playing part. But he apparently wants more opportunity in a Knicks offense that already has a lot of mouths to feed (like this other Knick who has expressed frustrations before).