Cavs: How potential FA target Josh Hart could help on both ends

New Orleans Pelicans guard/wing Josh Hart looks to make a play. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
New Orleans Pelicans guard/wing Josh Hart looks to make a play. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Josh Hart, Cleveland Cavaliers
New Orleans Pelicans guard/wing Josh Hart defends on-ball. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

How Hart could help the Cavs defensively

If Hart joins the Cavaliers, he may have an even bigger impact on the defensive end than the offensive end. Defensive stats can sometimes be tricky and not tell the full story about a players’ abilities on that end of the floor.

For example, out of players who appeared in at least 15 games in 2020-21, Hart ranked 381st out of 533 players in the league in terms of defensive rating, per

However, when taking into account that the Pelicans ranked 23rd in the league in defensive rating as a team, it paints a better picture and explains why a good defender like Hart would rank so low in defensive rating.

And conversely, a stat like defensive win shares which is more of an individual stat, paints Hart in a much better light. In defensive win shares, he ranked 185th, per This ties him with the likes of Andre Drummond and Serge Ibaka.

While it is true that Hart is no an All-NBA-caliber defender by any means, he is a very skilled perimeter defender and would be a great fit on the Cavaliers as a result of this.

Also in regards to the team defensive sense, Hart in rotational minutes at the 2/3, including some spelling Isaac Okoro and/or a potential draft selection in Jalen Green, could help. He’s had a respectable 1.2 steals per-36 minutes and a lifetime steal rate of 1.6 percent.

Plus, even at just 6-foot-5, Hart is a sturdy 215 pounds, and rebounds the ball especially well. He’s had 6.5 and 8.0 boards per contest in the past two seasons in primarily a bench role.

In a general sense, when Hart ended up getting injured in early April (torn UCL in his right thumb), New Orleans was not the same squad. That was a tough blow defensively, too, but it did show how he’s a difference maker, in a way, too.

So from a Wine and Gold standpoint, the Cavs were playing their best basketball of the season when they were playing outstanding defense. And if they are able to really lock in and be a defensive-oriented team, the wins will start rolling in and the playoffs will be a real possibility.

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Josh Hart could be an important piece to that playoff run, and as Fedor pointed out, with him and Larry Nance Jr. being really close, perhaps he could consider signing with the Cavs, and we’d have to see what’d play out from there.