Before Las Vegas Summer League, Josh Hart said he wanted to “dominate” the offseason tournament. Since he arrived, he’s done exactly that while leading the Los Angeles Lakers to their second straight summer league championship game, and Tuesday it was announced that voters had named him the 2018 Las Vegas Summer League MVP.
Picking up the MVP hardware !— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) July 18, 2018
Congrats @joshhart! #LakersSummer pic.twitter.com/2l738oqpkU
Hart was also named to the MGM Resorts All-NBA Summer League First Team, while teammate Svi Mykhailiuk made the second team after averaging 17.7 points per game and shooting 51 percent from the field heading in the championship game:
Here are the full first and second teams pic.twitter.com/ae8Eydc78k— TV's Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) July 17, 2018
After his 37-point explosion to help the Lakers beat the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second time this July and head to the finals, Hart is now leading all Las Vegas Summer League scorers with 24.2 points per game. The second-year guard also ranks third in field goal percentage (47 percent) among players to have taken more than 70 shots in LVSL.
Following the win Monday night, Hart told reporters that he wasn’t that concerned with winning the award.
“It’s neat. It kinda is a testament to the hard work I put in,” Hart said. “But I don’t go for individual accolades ... I play this game to win. If I get it I get it. Cool. If we win that’s the biggest thing. I came here to win, I came here to dominate.”
Whether or not Hart and the Lakers defend their Las Vegas Summer League title is still to be determined Tuesday night, but Hart is now officially the second Lakers guard in a row to take the Las Vegas Summer League MVP award after Lonzo Ball won last year, and might have a chance to get the finals MVP as well, an award taken home by teammate Kyle Kuzma last season.
Hart has played well enough to not just win awards, but also to demonstrate that he has firmly earned a spot in the Lakers’ rotation for next season. Hart is unlikely to start given that the Lakers re-signed Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in free agency, but his improvement makes him an amazing fit alongside LeBron James, so while this might be his last individual MVP award for a while, he’s almost a lock to get to do plenty of winning and dominating.
Something tells me Hart will be just fine with that.
All quotes transcribed via the Lakers’ official Twitter account. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.