Mark Konezny/USA Today Sports

NBA draft profile: Villanova shooting guard Josh Hart

Olivia Healy
June 15, 2017 - 2:17 pm

As part of WEEI.com's coverage of the 2017 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of prospective picks. The Celtics have amassed four picks: 1, 37, 53, and 56. The draft will be held June 22 at Brooklyn's Barclays Center.

Name: Josh Hart

Position: Shooting guard

Hometown: Silver Spring, Maryland

College: Villanova

Age: 22

Height: 6-foot-6

Weight: 204 pounds

Key 2016-17 stats: 18.7 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists.

Scouting Report: Hart, a senior shooting guard from Villanova, is a seasoned player with a knack for scoring. He was awarded the Julius Erving Award which honors the top small forward in the nation and was named a first team All-American by the Associated Press and the Big East player of the year after accumulating 1,921 points, 812 rebounds, 266 assists and 161 steals in his four-year career.

Hart tested NBA waters in 2016 and attended the combine before making the decision to return for his senior year. He shot 51.1 percent from the field and 40.1 percent from behind the arc during the 2016-17 season, and is a scorer by nature. He finishes strong at the rim with contact and has a solid two-dribble pull up with an improved three-pointer. However, his shot from deep is slow and has a hitch before his release. He struggles offensively when he tries to get too fancy with his moves or forces his drives into crowded lanes. Hart can be a predictable player to guard because he has one speed and one direction, but when he turns the corner with the ball on the floor he is hard to stop.

Defensively, Hart pressures the ball and is constantly in the gaps either helping on strong-side drives or anticipating steals. Stronger guards are able to get to the basket at will in one-on-one perimeter situations which might be problematic in the transition to the NBA, but his instincts and court awareness typically puts him in the right positions.

A team that wants a winner and a complete player will draft Hart. “If you need him to be a scorer, he could score. If you need him to be a great defender or rebounder or playmaker, he can just do everything,” Villanova coach Jay Wright told Philly.com. “Maybe not on the level of LeBron James, but on another level, he’s that complete player.”

Hart is the type of player that dives for loose balls, ends scoring droughts and adds a spark on the defensive end. The Celtics in the postseason shot 36.9 percent from beyond the arc and 45.7 percent from the field. As far as depth goes in the shooting guard position, it was just Avery Bradley, who average 35.8 minutes in the postseason, and James Young.

While the Celtics were stacked at the point guard position, small forward and power forward slots, it could be argued that the team was missing another reliable scorer this past season. If Hart is available around the 53rd and 56th pick, the Celtics may be in the market for a winner who does the intangibles.

 

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