76ers’ Nic Batum Shares Interesting Comp For Knicks’ Josh Hart

Nicolas Batum, Josh Hart, 76ers, Knicks, NBA
NBA Analysis Network

The Philadelphia 76ers have gone down 2-0 in their first-round series against the New York Knicks in the 2024 NBA Playoffs in heartbreaking fashion. They had double-digit leads in both games but were unable to seal the deal in crunch time, leading to some brutal losses.

One of the biggest reasons that the 76ers are heading home in the position they are in has been the performance of Josh Hart. Hart is the quintessential glue guy, the kind of player every successful NBA team has in their rotation as he is willing to do whatever it takes to help his team win games.

A major part of the 76ers’ game plan through two games has been daring Hart to shoot the ball and beat them. In the regular season, he struggled mightily, making a career-low 31.6 percent of his 3-pointers. 

The strategy Philadelphia has deployed enables them to send extra help to Brunson, which has led to him being stifled. However, Hart has picked up the slack, as he is hurting the 76ers by going 8-of-15 from 3-point range.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Nicolas Batum, Josh Hart, New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers Updates

Will Nick Nurse change his strategy to adjust for Hart’s hot shooting and risk allowing Brunson to heat up? Or will they hope Hart has a regression to the mean and comes back to Earth with his shooting percentages?

Whatever choice they make, Hart has proven to be a major X-Factor through two games and will be for the remainder of the series. He is someone that the 76ers do think highly of despite how they defend him for the other intangibles he brings to the table.

76ers veteran wing was very complimentary of Hart when speaking about him recently. Nicolas Batum likened Hart to future Hall of Famer Russell Westbrook for the impact they can have on an NBA game as rebounders despite their lack of height.

Batum was also asked about how the 76ers could contain Hart on the glass. He and the team are still looking for that answer, as he said, “I don’t know. If you got a secret, give it to me please.”

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Nicolas Batum, Josh Hart, New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers Updates

Hart has been just as dominant on the glass as he has been shooting from long-range against the 76ers. He has pulled down 28 rebounds, as the 76ers’ strategy of leaving him open makes it impossible to put a body on him when he attacks the offensive glass.

Eight of his 28 rebounds to this point are of the offensive variety. He, Isaiah Hartenstein and Mitchell Robinson are overwhelming the 76ers on the glass, as a hampered Joel Embiid isn’t a match for those three and needs help.

Nurse will have to adjust something for the 76ers to get back into this series. They cannot continue to allow Hart to run roughshod over them or their run in the NBA Playoffs is going to come to an end very quickly.

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