The interesting day for the Los Angeles Lakers continues after ESPN’s bombshell report. Included in the report was the tidbit about how they essentially had two separate war rooms during the 2019 NBA Draft. While Villanova Power Forward Omari Spellman was the highest man on the Lakers draft board, Pelinka and Johnson, unknown to the rest of the organization, decided to instead draft Moritz Wagner.
According to the report, Pelinka would go on to justify this by saying he spoke with Spellman’s former Villanova teammate, Josh Hart, who would reaffirm the concerns that Pelinka and the Lakers had regarding Spellman. Seeing as Hart and Spellman go back to their Villanova days, the report was bound to cause some friction between the two old friends.
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Lakers’ Josh Hart Shuts Down Beef With Omari Spellman on Twitter
Spellman fired the first shot by calling out Hart directly on Twitter, saying “Let’s just hope this ain’t true”. However, Spellman quickly tweeted back out saying he spoke to Hart and that this all seems to be some sort of strange misunderstanding between the two.
Hart’s response would seem to be that he is denying the reports that he told Pelinka not to draft Spellman – or even gave him info that would make him draft someone else. That leaves either Pelinka lying to the organization in order to justify his draft choice or ESPN’s Baxter Holmes being fed some bad information. Any way things shake out, it simply doesn’t look good for the Lakers as a whole.
Josh Hart’s Laker Role in 2019-20
Hart recently went public about his struggles as a young player adjusting to so many schematic changes early on in his career. Starting off in a two-way playmaking role, Hart was moved into more of a 3 and D role last season upon the arrival of LeBron James. With a new coaching regime taking over this season, there is a good chance Hart finds himself in a slightly different position compared to last season.
If last season was any indication, it is that Hart is much more effective overall when allowed to do more offensively. Currently stuck in a role where he sprints to the corners to help space the floor, the Lakers weren’t able to get the most out of the young guard’s skills last season.
While Vogel will likely look to get him involved a bit more, there is only so much he can do with both LeBron James and Lonzo Ball taking up the lion’s share of possessions as the primary playmaker. With neither player offering much of a shooting threat, the Lakers still need Hart to help space the floor – especially if they wind up with a big man who can’t knock down the deep ball.