The New York Knicks have brought in reinforcements for next season, one of which is 24-year-old big man Isaiah Hartenstein. A second-round pick from the 2018 draft, Hartenstein only started to get significant playing time last season with the Los Angeles Clippers. Now, he’s looking to have a consistent role with the Knicks.
With New York also re-signing starting center Mitchell Robinson, Hartenstein seems to be locked in as the backup center. While he’s coming in to play somewhat of a minimal role, Hartenstein was an absolutely necessary signing with the Knicks getting rid of last year’s backup centers Taj Gibson and Nerlens Noel.
They locked up Hartenstein for the next two seasons, and there are some elements to his game that Knicks fans haven’t seen from their big men in recent years. It could make for a fun new piece of the puzzle.
3 Isaiah Hartenstein stats that Knicks fans will enjoy
Stat No. 1: Isaiah Hartenstein’s Passing
If there’s something we haven’t seen from Knicks centers, it’s any sort of passing ability. Centers who are creative passers are few and far between in the NBA, but the Knicks, more than other teams, haven’t had centers who can put the ball on the floor. Seven-foot Hartenstein averaged 2.4 assists in 17.9 minutes per game this past season.
His limited minutes certainly limited his total assists compared to other NBA starting centers. Overall Hartenstein ranked 18th among centers in the NBA in assists per game. Of those 18, he averaged the fewest minutes. The only other player among those 18 who averaged fewer than 20 minutes per game was Kelly Olynyk.
It is exciting to envision Hartenstein playing alongside New York’s second unit of Obi Toppin, Immanuel Quickley, Quentin Grimes, and possibly Derrick Rose. When healthy and at their best, the team’s second unit has brought an exhilarating brand of fast-paced basketball.
Hartenstein has the capability to make some high-level passes to a cutting Obi Toppin, or to Immanuel Quickley coming off of a screen along the perimeter. He could give them all a boost. His passing ability will be an added element to what the team can do on offense. And that’s not the only interesting part of his game.