Knicks’ Josh Hart is the hardest working man in the NBA

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The work heart isn’t smart, but it’s been the New York Knicks’ blueprint since late January. With injuries to Julius Randle and OG Anunoby keeping frontcourt stars out of the rotation, Tom Thibodeau turned to the tried-and-true method of working his blue-collar contributors to exhaustion. The guy he’s been seeing the most consistent time with lately is Josh Hart. While most teams are pacing their players with an eye toward the final stretch of the regular season and the opening round of the postseason, Thibs took a different approach. It’s not entirely his fault. The Knicks suffered so badly that Thisbs returned to his roots by playing 40 minutes with Hart in eight straight games.

But no one has played a game like that in consecutive weeks since James Harden last did it in 2016. Josh Hart belongs to an exclusive club. In the modern NBA, an average 40-minute workday is a no-no, the equivalent of a 16-hour shift in a Depression-era factory. They don’t want too many players getting injured on the job.But this is the same coach who played Luol Deng so many minutes in 2012 that not only led the league, but finished the league. cerebrospinal fluid is leaking During the playoffs and thisbus still They tried to get him in uniform in time for the second round of the series.

Without Anunoby, Hart continues to put up Employee of the Month numbers, but still looks like he’s having too much fun and roughing up opponents, but Thisbs needs to calm down here. The stakes here aren’t as bad as keeping Derrick Rose until the end of the game. Solitary victory in the playoffs Or maybe he lost 15 pounds to face Deng, but Hart is the ultimate glue guy. Since being thrust into the starting lineup in late January due to Anunoby’s injury, Hart led the league in assists and rebounds, and led the NBA in minutes played per game during that span.

In 20 years, no one would have looked at using role players like that, and no manager in this era has shown more resistance to resting players than Thibodeau. Since slipping into the No. 2 seed, the Knicks have been hit by injuries. You could also build your entire starting lineup out of the Knicks’ rotation players on the bench. When they come back, Tom Thibodeau is going to run them into the ground. Because that’s the Tibbs way.

To chart how weird it is for players to cross the 40-minute threshold, @auto nba He detailed exactly how unusual Hart’s run was. Twenty years ago, there was a streak of eight games in which 18 players played at least 40 minutes. Kobe Bryant had similar results in the 2012-13 season. Mike D’Antoni played over 40 games in seven straight games before tearing his Achilles tendon (due to overuse) late that season.

Today’s NBA contests involve more possessions, more moves, and more miles on players’ tires than ever before. Josh Hart is overtime work Bargain basement deal for $81 million. The 6-foot-4 shooting guard played small-ball power forward, and his versatility made him valuable.

He is currently the hardest working man in basketball. Once the Knicks are fully healthy, Hart will return to a role where he can do anything off the bench. The downside to relying on Hurts for so many minutes each night is that it shows just how much trouble the Knicks are in. The Knicks, who have relied on Jalen Brunson and utility men since Jan. 30, are 6-9. Brunson missed about a week of basketball before returning to the lineup Friday. Once Randle, Anunoby and eventually Mitchell Robinson recover, Hart will return to a bench role and his playing time will be cut by about a third.

As for Thibodeau, his takeaway this season has been adjusting the pace to keep his stars healthy, but who are we kidding? Some things never change.

Find DJ Danson on X: @brain sports tex

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