Josh Hart becomes second consecutive Lakers player to win Summer League MVP

2018 NBA Summer League - Las Vegas - Detroit Pistons v Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers were unable to secure back-to-back Summer League titles as they were beaten in the final by the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night.

They did, however, see one of their players scoop the MVP award for the second straight year.

Josh Hart followed in the footsteps of teammate Lonzo Ball who was named as the Summer League's best player 12 months ago.

A terrific performance against the Cleveland Cavaliers in a double-overtime victory in the semi-finals, where he posted 37 points and nine rebounds, clinched the honour for Hart.

The 23-year-old, who will be heading into his second NBA season with the Lakers, wanted to "dominate" the competition and showcase his all-around game and was able to do that.

Making a name for himself

Before the defeat to the Blazers in the final, he was averaging 24.2 points, 47.1 percent shooting, 5.2 rebounds and 1.5 steals in six games.

Luckily for him, the award was voted for before the championship game and his frustrating night against Portland wasn't taken into account.

He did post a team-high 12 points but he shot just 3-of-12 in the 91-73 loss and was ejected with less than five minutes to go as he argued with officials.

But his performances over the past week have made people stand up and take notice.

President Magic Johnson was so excited by what he saw from the shooting guard that he declared he can put himself in contention for a starting spot on the Lakers team next season.

"Look at Josh Hart. He’s playing unbelievable in Las Vegas. Some guys better watch out because he’s pushing to start," he said last week, per Tania Ganguli of the LA Times.

LeBron James was in attendance to watch Hart and the rest of the young Lakers earlier this week and he saluted his new teammate for his MVP triumph on Twitter.

The team was already impressed with the Villanova product's defensive and rebounding abilities but he was keen to use the time in Vegas to show the other parts of his game that he's been working on during the offseason.

"Probably my handle," Hart said when asked what he feels he has put on display this summer, according to ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk.

Portland Trail Blazers v Los Angeles Lakers

"My ability to shoot off the dribble. Those are the two main things that I have really been working on the last several months. Hopefully guys see that and say, 'Oh man, J-Hart is really working.'"

Hart was also named to the All-NBA Summer League first team and fans in LA are excited for what he can offer next year.

He is certainly one of the young prospects that the purple and gold will be counting on as they hope to return to the playoffs.

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