Arrived during the season from New Orleans, Josh Hart played only 13 games under the tunic of the Blazers, quickly put to rest in the scheduled sinking of his new franchise.
For him and Portland, it is now necessary to project on the next season, with a team which will record the highly anticipated return of Damian Lillard in addition to the addition of an interesting draft choice therefore, in a brand new version of the Blazers, without his lifelong sidekick, CJ McCollum, precisely traded for Josh Hart…
Expected as a major player next season, after shooting 20 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists in his new colors, Josh Hart said he was enthusiastic about this prospect during his last appearance in front of the local press. He spoke in particular of his strong relationship with Chauncey Billups, his coach at Rip City.
“I’ve only been here for two months but I liked what I saw”
“I can tell you he’s going to be a great coach. He is a coach close to his players in any case, “ said Josh Hart during his end-of-season interview. “He’s very good at building the confidence of his players and he has a good balance to hold them accountable on the other side. This is the most important for a coach. You obviously have to be able to help your players to progress but also to make sure that they assume their responsibilities too. He really cares about us beyond the player and that’s something that’s also very important and sometimes underestimated. I’ve only been here for two months but I liked what I saw. »
After knowing Los Angeles for his first two years in the League, then three more seasons in New Orleans, Josh Hart discovers a third destination. In the city of roses, the veteran appreciates a city on a human scale and a public totally committed to his cause, and which already seems to have adopted his warrior mentality.
“Franchises established in small markets do not always have a good reputation. But my short experience in Portland was fantastic. The fans are amazing here. I was in New Orleans and it’s a little different ’cause they got the Saints [en NFL] and in the South in general, football is the major sport. But here, being part of the only professional team, you don’t feel like you’re in a small market at all. We have the fans who come en masse to each match to support us. We struggled over the last twenty games, losing 20 or 30 points but they were there until the end of the match. This is a major argument for us. With the coaching staff, Chauncey and the players we have, Dame, Nurk, Ant and myself, I think we have a good balance between a great city, a great atmosphere in the room and players and coaches who are hungry for victory and even a management team that wants to leave its mark on the league. »
“A role more centered on the back lines in order to create play”
A solid player, who, for example, has just scored 44 points this season for a new career high, Josh Hart has yet to make the playoffs. For his upcoming sixth campaign, the objective is therefore obvious…
To do this, he should be used in another role, more creative on the outside than finisher inside in his profile as a winger or even a slippery winger like his last years in New Orleans. The former NCAA champion with Villanova accepts it without flinching. Alongside Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons, and the wide screens of Jusuf Nurkic (if the latter extends to Oregon), he knows there will be spaces.
“I spoke to Joe and Chauncey and it will be a little different for me next season. I will have a more centered role on the back lines in order to create play and carry the ball a little more. It’s something that’s not what I’m used to but really motivates me. If you look at my career a bit, last year and this year with New Orleans, I was number four. I was playing between positions 2 and 4 basically. But this creative role is going to be different and it’s something I’m looking forward to doing because I feel comfortable in that role. »
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