Josh Hart’s rebounding is already the stuff of legend but his all-around play has helped keep the Knicks afloat during this stretch.

From having a short bad stint at the start of the season to stepping up with major minutes and boards for his team, Josh Hart has done it all.

Hart, who is measured at just six-foot-four, currently averages an impressive 8.0 rebounds this season. He’s also putting up 9.1 points and 3.6 assists per game while shooting 42.6% from the field.

Are you impressed yet? No? Well, let’s dive deeper into Hart’s unbelievable contributions for the Knicks so far.

A look into Hart’s performance with a magnifying lens

Since joining the Knicks, Hart has recorded an impressive 15 double-doubles, and his game against the Philadelphia 76ers last Tuesday was his fourth triple-double of the season. With 20 points, 19 rebounds, 10 assists, and a standing ovation from the crowd at MSG, Hart was etched into franchise history as the sixth Knick ever to record a minimum of four triple-doubles in a single season.

Short of his 20-20 game, this is what Hart had to say after Coach Tom Thibodeau decided to take him out of the game per Fred Katz: “That would be nice, but Thomas Thibodeau wanted to take me out of the game. Everyone complained about me playing 40 minutes. I could have gotten my 20-20 game, but he takes me out. So, appreciate it, Thomas.” We all know that Hart was just being sarcastic here, his relationship with Coach Thibs proving to be of great chemistry and funny antics. But what you may not know is if Hart had completed the feat, he would have been the shortest player to ever go 20-20-10 since 1960’s Golden State Warrior, Guy Rodgers. 

After Tuesday’s game came to an end, Coach Thibs chimed in on Hart’s performance: “He’s going to give me grief about something, so it goes in one ear, out the other. But he was terrific. He plays to win, and that’s what I love about him. He’s not a guy that plays for stats, even though his stats were great, unbelievable. But he plays to win, and that’s what makes him so valuable to us” per NYDN’s Kristian Winfield. Despite Hart not quite reaching a 20-20 game, he still became the sixth Knick to record 20 points, 15 rebounds, and 10 assists in a single game. Other huge Knicks players that stand out include Patrick Ewing, Walt “Clyde” Frazier Jr., Richie Guerin, and Michael Ray Richardson.

Aside from that, due to the current huge gaps in the Knicks’ roster from Julius Randle’s injury to OG’s prior elbow injury this season, Coach Thibs has placed his trust at an all-time high into the former Villanova player. On average, Hart has played 32.1 minutes per game. However, prior to OG’s return, Coach Thibs entrusted Hart so much that he had him out on the floor for 40+ minutes, his longest being 47 minutes played against the Golden State Warriors back in February. At some point, he was seen playing 40 minutes in eight straight games. Nobody has recorded this many minutes played in a game consecutively since James Harden in 2016. And honestly? This can be looked at in two very different ways.

The first is that perhaps Coach Thibs has a tendency to overwork his players. If you recall his time coaching with the Chicago Bulls and Luol Deng in 2012, who was heavily injured during the playoffs, Thibs told Deng to suit up and would have him out on the court for an extended period in countless games regardless of what would soon happen to Deng later that season. The second way this can be viewed is that Coach Thibs was right to trust Hart as it is obvious that Hart’s engine seems to never run out. It is almost like his hands are magnetic when it comes to his rebounding prowess. And perhaps, Thibs is one of the factors (aside from obviously Hart’s defensive tenacity) in helping him produce such numbers lately. So whether you see it one way or the other, Knicks fans can sleep happily knowing that our injured guys will soon return and Hart can continue contributing the same way he has been but without the risk of injuring himself from an overload of minutes out there. 

Hart has posted at least 10+ boards consistently in his last four recent games with the Knicks. Simply put, he is currently one of the best glass-eaters in the NBA. His total rebounding number recorded this regular season (530) is near the best in the league right now such as Nikola Jokic (794), Anthony Davis (787), Clint Capela (611), Victor Wembanyama (607), and so on. He is currently listed at 18th behind 17 big men. I should also point out that the players that I have just listed are nowhere near Hart’s height nor the position he is called to play. Thus, this season’s outrageous yet extraordinary rebounding leaderboard clearly highlights Hart’s competency to be relied on. 

All in all, it is safe to say that New York is in good hands with Josh Hart being around.

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