As we transition from the college basketball season to NBA Draft season I’ll be breaking down the scouting reports for various players across the country who are expected to be in the NBA Draft. We’ll focus on seniors and those with agents to start. If there is someone specific you want on here, please let me know @barstoolreags. All videos are courtesy of Synergy and the stats will come from Synergy and KenPom.
Josh Hart – Villanova
6’6”, 204 lbs, 22 years old
Projected: No. 42 (DraftExpress) No. 48 (NBADraft)
Comparison: Courtney Lee
Background: Josh Hart was one of the best players in the country the entire year. He started the season an All-American pick and quickly became the NPOY favorite as Villanova had a dominant nonconference. He did slow down a little bit during Big East play as teams started to gameplan strictly to take him out of the game and make guys like Jalen Brunson beat them. There was also a little bit of a fatigue factor in conference play. However, he was still the runner up for nearly every NPOY award and was a unanimous All-American selection. He’s one of the few players who truly played ‘positionless’ basketball that you hear everyone talking about now.
Strengths: There were very few people more efficient than Josh Hart at the collegiate level the last couple of seasons – it’s part of the reason why he won KenPom Player of the Year this year. In fact he shot over 50% from the field for all four seasons he was at Villanova. Where he thrived at though was spot up shooting. he had 176 possessions this past season spot up shooting and scored on 44.3% of those for 1.125 points per possession, which was good for the 86th percentile in the nation. He was able to stretch the floor as he was a career 38% 3-point shooter and shoots the ball with great lift. His perimeter is by far the reason he will get drafted. Part of what makes Hart a great shooter is his release point. He’s become consistent in keeping it high, which is the biggest reason of his improvement from a 31% shooter his freshman year. Here’s a view of his release point, which is something to watch as he goes through workouts. Can he continue to be consistent with the height of it:
While he does struggle a little to shoot off the dribble (grading out as just average per Synergy) he does a great job of finishing at the rim off the bounce. Per Hoop-Math, Hart had 35.6% of shots at the rim and a 70.3% field goal percentage at the rim. He’s not incredibly athletic or explosive but he’s incredibly crafty and knows how to use his body at the rim. He has decent size at 6’5″ to where he can attack the paint from a wing spot. Here’s a good example of him using his body against a first-round pick in Justin Patton. He does a good job of taking a big, quick first step to take advantage of the baseline drive before finishing at the rim:
Where Hart has improved the most though and has improved his stock the most is his ability to play in the pick and roll game, especially as a facilitator. Yes, his first instinct is to score as he did score .871 points per possession (77th percentile in the country). But, when you throw in pick and roll with passes included the points per possession for Villanova and Hart jumps to .972. He ran a pick and roll set 215 times this past season to which he does prefer to go right off the pick. But, what I want to focus on is his passing ability. He did run the backup point guard spot for Villanova when Brunson was out of the game, which forced him to get better at this. It also will allow him to stick on an NBA roster as he isn’t just one dimensional coming off the screen, though his midrange game does need to improve. This pass here is something he didn’t really have two seasons ago. He does a great job of taking the dribble to set up the pass and keep the defender engaged while Paschall rolls to the rim. The bounce pass is delivered perfectly for an easy dunk:
Weaknesses: As I mentioned earlier he’s not a great athlete. He’s not going to wow you by finishing with a dunk or beat you with quickness and speed up and down the court. He can struggle when going up against longer, quicker opponents who take away his spot up jumper. When he has to drive, he can get a little careless with the ball, in the sense that he will dribble himself into a contested shot, something he needs to work on. He only has a 6’7″ wingspan so he’s not incredibly long, something that we hear (and drink to) during the NBA Draft. This is part of the reason why he’s graded out as average per Synergy on jumpshots within 17′. He ranked in just the 41st percentile nationally at those shots and part of the reason was his inability to beat someone off the dribble or finish over length. He has to develop a move to create space for those shots so he has all three levels in his arsenal.
Draft Stock & Projection: Hart will get passed over at times due to his age. Again, people prefer the 19-year old to the 22-year old senior, it’s just the business decision. But, he’s absolutely made to be a guy to come off the bench and provide immediate scoring. He’s an okay defender, he needs to get better in defending the pick and roll. His ability to rebound at his size and comfort of playing ‘positionless’ will make him NBA-ready right off the bat. If he develops his midrange game and gets a little better at handling the ball, it wouldn’t shock me to see him end up a starter at some point.