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Josh Hart Named Summer League MVP, Leads Los Angeles Lakers To Finals

By Paul John Rivera
on Jul 19, 2018 09:48 PM EDT
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It looks like LeBron James has lots of reasons to get excited about the new chapter of his career with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Lakers guard Josh Hart proved that he is ready to make a big jump next season after he was named as the Las Vegas Summer League Most Valuable Player. His feat did not go unnoticed, as he earned praises from James, who is the new face of the Lakers franchise.

Josh Hart Shows Dominant Form In Summer League

Hart, the 30th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, earned the nod from a media panel after his explosion against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the semifinals of the Las Vegas Summer League, ESPN reported. The 23-year-old guard finished with 37 points and nine rebounds, leading the Lakers to a double-overtime win over Cleveland.

While the Lakers lost in their final match against the Portland Trail Blazers, Hart has already established his status as the most dominant player in the summer league this year. Before losing to Portland, the former Villanova standout averaged 24.2 points on 47.1 percent shooting from the field to go along with 5.2 rebounds and 1.5 steals.

According to The Big Lead, Hart is the clear MVP of the summer league after showing improved three-point shooting and better ball-handling, which helped him get to the rim at ease. His improvement on defense was also mentioned, and his performance will likely give him a shot for more playing time in the 2018-19 NBA season.

"Probably my handle," Hart said of the things that impressed fans and analysts in the summer league. "My ability to shoot off the dribble. Those are the two main things that I have really been working on the last several months."

Praises From Lakers Icons

James was thrilled to see Hart bagging the MVP plum. Hart became the second consecutive Laker to win the Las Vegas Summer League MVP award after Lonzo Ball took the honor last year.

James, who watched Hart play on Sunday, took to Twitter to praise his new teammate, who will likely be among his favorite target next season.

even before bagging the MVP award, Magic Johnson, Lakers president of basketball operations, has already praised him in public. Johnson said that fans should watch out for Hart because the incoming second-year guard is looking to earn a spot in the starting lineup.

"He's playing unbelievable in Las Vegas," Johnson said of Hart via Tania Ganguli of Los Angeles Times. "Some guys better watch out because he's pushing to start."

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is currently projected to start at shooting guard for the Lakers in their season opener, but Hart has already made a case. He is expected to get more playing time next season ahead of new recruits Rajon Rondo and Lance Stephenson.

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