There’s no way around it: Josh Hart struggled during his workout with the Sixers on Thursday morning, at least during the portion the media had access to. He was able to generate a number of open looks for himself in three-on-three drills through off-ball movement and a bit of craftiness with the handle, but the buckets just weren’t falling.
He didn’t make any excuses for his performance when he was done, but he admitted he’s in the process of tweaking his jumper and diversifying his game as he prepares for the next level.
“It comes with the territory, you go through growing pains,” he said, “today was a little bit of a growing pain. But even if you miss shots, [it’s important to] show my jump shot is different, fluid, smoother.”
One workout certainly isn’t going to break a kid who helped lead Villanova to a National Championship two seasons ago, and a No. 1 seed in the tournament as the alpha dog for the Wildcats this year. Hart has improved immensely during his time in Philadelphia, particularly as a shooter, bringing his three-point percentage up over 40 percent as a senior on over five attempts per game.
The local product will certainly be in the mix for the Sixers with one of their four second-round picks next Thursday night; he’s currently being mocked in the mid-40s by outlets like Draft Express. He was a Swiss army knife in college, providing help off the bench earlier in his career and playing both on-and-off ball by the time he wrapped up his college career. On a Ben Simmons led team, that sort of experience would be invaluable.
Going back to the bottom of the totem pole might be hard for a lot college stars, but Hart—who was lightly recruited coming out of high school—says his journey has helped him stay focused on controlling what he can, and not worrying so much about other people’s expectations.
“I don’t think anyone really know who I was coming out of high school, so I think I exceeded expectations on that point,” he said. “I don’t really give a damn honestly, that has nothing to do with me. At the end of the day it’s about myself. I gotta look myself in the mirror, and know I did everything I could. If that’s where I got my drive from then I’m not going to be successful.
Unlike some of the other guys who have come through Philly for workouts, Hart won’t have to prove he’ll fit into the city’s blue-collar fabric. He didn’t have the best day at the practice facility, but with a resume like his, it shouldn’t really matter.
Other Workout Notes
- Dylan Ennis was the most senior member of the workout crew—the man is 25 years old!—and it showed. He was by far the loudest member of the morning group, calling out screens and offensive sets incessantly; I’m pretty sure his voice will be ringing in my ears for at least a couple days. Jokes aside, Ennis said that will be his big strength at the next level: “My niche is communication, making sure I’m an extension of the coach on the floor.”
- Nova’s Darryl Reynolds doesn’t have any other workouts lined up, but he did have big lunch plans, and advice on cheesesteak orders. “Fried onions, hot peppers, salt pepper ketchup, obviously provolone cheese, y’all all from here so y’all got it.”
- Dillon Brooks had the best showing out of the prospects in the gym on Thursday morning, hitting a number of tough shots and finishing through contact at the rim during full-court three-on-three. He also expressed admiration for the Philadelphia style of fandom: “Hard, tough place to play ... that’s one thing I love.”
- Another Brooks note—he specifically named Jahlil Okafor as one of the pieces in place to “feed off of,” so make of that what you will.