In his rookie season with the Lakers, Hart missed 19 games in the regular season, including 14 consecutive games in the month of March. He also suffered a few minor injuries that kept him out of most of summer league and preseason last year.
It’s for that reason the Lakers’ training staff will likely take a conservative approach with the 23-year-old, like they have been known to do in the past. Unfortunately, that could mean Hart has played his last game of the preseason, but he can rest easy knowing he earned a spot in head coach Luke Walton’s rotation.
The only question now is, will he be the starter on opening night?
Hart started two games in the preseason and in those two games, he averaged 15.5 points, 4 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. His efficiency from behind the 3-point line hasn’t been especially impressive so far (31.3 percent on 16 attempts), but it’s still substantially better than Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who is shooting an abysmal 14.3 percent on 14 attempts.
Hart has also found ways outside of scoring to help the Lakers win games and those things could help him replace Caldwell-Pope in the starting lineup permanently.
If they do plan on resting Hart, Caldwell-Pope will likely start at shooting guard in the meantime. Lance Stephenson could also see extended minutes off the bench as a result.
We will provide updated as more information becomes available. You can follow this author on Twitter at @RadRivas.