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Jason Hart: The Best He Ever Will Be?

I'd love to call Jason "The Hitman" Hart's recent offensive upswing a resurgence, if he had ever surged in the first place.

But when you look at it, it hasn't been any sort of surge. Yeah, he's put up at least 4 points in every game since The Ronnie Price Game on Dec. 26, which is welcome following three scoreless games and numerous 2-point, 3-point performances. But he hasn't exactly lit up Sacramento's night sky.

Since the Portland/Price game, Hart has shot 14 for 36 and 12 for 17 from the line in 150 minutes. That's .389 from the field and 70 percent on free throws. It's an improvement from what Hitman was giving the team, but it's not world-on-fire type stuff.

Hart is not an offensive threat a la Bobby Jackson or even Eddie House, but he's many times better on the defensive end than those guys, at least by anecdote. He gets in his stance every time down, he gets into passing lanes, he keeps his man in front of him.

But it's really not enough to make up for the anemic offense. If "Jason Hart playing well on offense" means 10.5 points per 40 minutes on 39% shooting with absolutely no long-range threat, it's not enough for this team. As long as Mike Bibby and Brad Miller continue to be your cornerstone players, this team will win almost exclusively by outscoring the bad guys. Plugging such a disruptive offensive eunich into the equation defeats that end at little benefit.

That's why Doug Christie should be remembered much brighter than some choose to do. Not only was he a top-flight defender, but he actually added something to the table on offense. He passed the ball well (Hart is uncreative with his passing to a fault), he presented a deep threat (except in Game 7) and he could mix it up a bit inside. (Tangent: Two Kings have thrown punches at opponents in recent years: Doug Christie and Anthony Peeler. Not the first names that come to mind when you think "Thug Life.")

Is there hope for The Hitman in Sactown? History says yes; his career FG% is .451, and he's actually 37 for 106 from three for his career. He's performing way worse in both categories this year, and it's doubtful that he's on the downside of his career at age 27 (though I honestly didn't realize he was that old already).

Given that Ronnie Price hasn't been a slouch on defense, and that he can actually score some, I wouldn't be opposed to switching the depth chart. Hart does manage to take some of the pressure off of Bibby by running the show when they play together - I doubt Price or Garcia couldn't do similar things. (Ball-handling has actually been a strength for Francisco - shooting is the weakness, Wednesday night aside.)

So that's my prognosis. Hart's resurgence? Nonexistant, really. Hart's chances for turning it around? Moderate to good. The benefit to the team should Hart turn it around? Minimal.

It's time Price got into the game.