Josh Hart’s role still looks different than last year.
It keeps changing — with occasional starts, with cameos at both wing and power forward, with sporadic shots and dipping percentages.
It could look different again after the trade deadline — depending on which, if any, players the Knicks add around him.
But with the Knicks navigating a stretch without Julius Randle, who dislocated his right shoulder Saturday against the Heat, and playing a second consecutive game without OG Anunoby (elbow inflammation), they’ve needed a little bit of everything from Hart. They needed the type of player he has developed into across seven NBA seasons.
The latest sample unfolded across the Knicks’ 118-103 win Tuesday against the Jazz, when he recorded his first-career triple-double with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
Hart converted just 4 of 10 shots, including 0-for-3 on 3-pointers and acknowledging “at some point” he needs to make one.
But for one night, the milestone was “cool,” he said.
“I expect him to have many more in his career,” Donte DiVincenzo said. “It’s not something I’m wowed at. I’m happy for him, but I’m not wowed. I’m not surprised. That’s kind of what he does.”
Hart snagged his final rebound with less than a minute remaining, and on the opposite end of the court, he tossed a lob to Precious Achiuwa for his final assist.
He’d been close a couple of times, maybe an assist or a few points away, but this time, in his 43rd minute of the night as fans chanted for Taj Gibson to enter — “I wanted Taj, too,” Hart joked — he assembled everything required.
When Achiuwa was on the court, Hart guarded a smaller Jazz player, but at times, he needed to serve as the Knicks’ power forward.
When asked again about being a power forward last week, Hart replied with “f–k no,” adding he’s still a guard.
But that was two days before the Knicks’ plan for that position changed when Randle drove for a layup, collided with a Heat defender and instantly left for the locker room.
Jalen Brunson called Hart “all bark, no bite” with the comments about being a power forward.
The numbers might look different for Hart this season.
His minutes, entering the Knicks’ game against the Jazz, haven’t sat this low since 2019-20, and Hart’s 7.3 points per game mark the fewest of his career.
But the Knicks might need a little bit of everything from Hart to navigate this next stretch.
He sparked a transition sequence Tuesday that ended with DiVincenzo sinking a 3-pointer and added a fastbreak layup on the next possession, allowing the Knicks to pull within two after an early deficit.
“He’s just a basketball player,” coach Tom Thibodeau said before the game. “So you can run offense through him, he plays great defense, rebounds the ball, pushes the ball on the break, plays hard.
“And when you’re down people like we are, that’s what we have to do.”
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