TKW’s resident sports performance coach Raymond Brenkert and Tyler Marko break down Josh Hart’s hard-nosed play that has the team is 9-1 since the deadline.

That Dog: (Noun)
1) What I was staring at when the traffic light turned green.
2) What Josh Hart has in him.

Rarely do we see a midseason acquisition make such an immediate impact on a middling playoff contender, but the New York Knicks have immediately vaulted into a higher tier after stealing Josh Hart from the Portland Trailblazers.


As of writing this, the Knicks are 9-1 since that deadline deal. While outstanding play by All-Star Julius Randle and snub Jalen Brunson have been the main driving factors, Hart’s winning attitude and effort have swung some close contests. He’s shot the three much better than in Portland. While that’s allowed him to stay on the floor without harming the Knicks’ already lackluster spacing, it’s arguably been the least impactful part of his game.

Hart’s motor is always running, he’s on the ground going after every loose ball, fighting for every offensive rebound, and pushing in transition after every defensive one. No need for any VORPs, Win Shares per 48, or any other advanced stats. The eye test tells all when dealing looking for Hart’s influence on what was the Knicks’ longest win streak (nine games) since 2021. 

Nobody knows what will happen next game, who will shoot well, poorly, or get injured. But, Knicks Wall contributor and sports performance and movement coach Raymond Brenkert speaks glowingly about Hart’s biomechanics, offering optimism he’ll continue to play well. Given that his hustle can occasionally put Hart in some compromising situations, it’s all the more important that he protect himself. Disregarding factors that are out of his control, nothing suggests an underlying issue that could lead to injury. Hart regularly lands in alignment and pushes off the ball of his foot with his heel raised. These habits are like Cheerios—keep a Hart healthy.

Every team’s fan base would be elated with the kind of performance Hart has given since he arrived. But the genetic memory of the hard-nosed 1990’s Knicks—still strong in the fan zeitgeist nearly 30 years later—makes him perfect for New York. It’s no surprise that he’s already become a favorite at Madison Square Garden. 

So rather than dig up statistics to articulate what every Knicks fan intuitively feels when watching Hart plays, do a few push-ups, sprint as fast as you can through a wall, and honor Josh Hart by bringing the same energy he brings to the court into your own life. Find your inner dog.

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