Los Angeles Lakers: Josh Hart was evidently too much to handle for David West

(Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Josh Hart’s strength apparently impressed David West last year, leading to the latter’s retirement.

Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Josh Hart has been garnering quite a bit of attention these days. Hart impressed many faces by winning this year’s Summer League MVP honors. In seven contests, he led the Lakers with averages of 22.4 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.3 assists.

It is safe to say Hart’s success has carried over into his team’s preseason games thus far. Frankly, I would be a bit worried if my name was Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Hart seems determined to take his game to the next level.

One element that makes Hart stand out is his defensive versatility. Via Matthew Moreno of Lakers Nation, the second-year player said during Summer League that he is willing to do whatever it takes to help the Lakers win.

"“If I’m out there setting screens, I’m whatever,” he said of potentially evolving into a power forward. “I do whatever is asked of me. I can play the one to the four.“I think that’s played in my favor, being able to be versatile. That helps in the minutes aspect.”"

Hart’s game has not gone unnoticed. Not too long ago, Marc J. Spears of ESPN noted that Hart deserves more praise than he gets. He feels like the former Villanova standout tends to get overlooked due to the presence of guys like Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram.

Despite that, Spears is not the only person who thinks the 6-foot-5 sophomore is underrated. Per Harrison Faigen of SB Nation, a former power forward of the Golden State Warriors believes Hart is no slouch.

The former big happens to be the recently retired David West. In fact, West took the liberty of sharing his thoughts on the Lakers’ young blood on Twitter.

That is quite a statement on the part of West. The former big was one tough cookie during his 15-year NBA career. West always took the dirty work seriously whether it involved backing someone down in the post or outdueling his man for a rebound.

That being said, the way West illustrates Hart says a lot about the latter. The two-time All-Star is pretty bulky and is clearly bigger than the Laker he alludes to.

Nevertheless, the two-time world champion will not lose sleep over the fact that he no longer has to compete against Hart. The 23-year-old certainly made his life difficult last season as referenced by “the little mofo” comment.

As was said, it seems strange given that West weighed around 250 pounds during his basketball career. Notwithstanding that truth, Hart did not back down from the challenge of guarding the longtime veteran last season.

For Lakers fans, this is a mighty encouraging thing to see. It is yet another sign that the ballclub’s future appears to bright.

Moreover, it showcases how far Hart come in such a short time frame in terms of developing the right habits. Defense and pure effort cannot necessarily be taught. However, they are areas the shooting guard is already adept in.

Certainly, West is not the only guy Hart has managed to slow down. In fact, Hart’s instincts on “D” inclined him to say the following in response to West’s tweet.

While this is some playful banter on Josh’s end, the words should not be taken too mildly. He is clearly not afraid to mix it up down low, and is already known for being a fine rebounding guard.

Assuming the second-year Laker continues to make the lives of his opponents hard, leaving him off the court will be just as hard in 2018-2019.

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Heck, the man has already played a role in causing a pretty decent player to call it quits. David West was a banger down low, but it is evident Hart is unfazed by the blows he receives.