3 Reasons Isaiah Hartenstein could become Knicks’ dark horse starter

Isaiah Hartenstein , New York Knicks (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)
Isaiah Hartenstein , New York Knicks (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images) /
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Isaiah Hartenstein Knicks
Isaiah Hartenstein, New York Knicks (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

2. Isaiah Hartenstein is a willing passer

Another Achilles heel for the Knicks in recent years has been lack of spreading the ball. Although not a guy who will stand out in the assist box scores, Hartenstein is a sneaky good passing big man. Managing four or more assists in 18 games last season, it doesn’t sound like a lot, but these numbers add up in a quiet way. His career high for assists in a game is eight, which he achieved last season.

For context, let’s take a look at Mitchell Robinsons assists (or lack-thereof) numbers last season. In the 72 games he played, he had four assists just once (season high), and three or more just twice. There were 46 games where Robinson had zero assists. It’s not like he wasn’t playing either — he was the starting center.

Robinson played 1,848 minutes last season, totaling 38 assists. Hartenstein played 1,216 (632 less) than Robinson and finished with 160 total assists.

Again, it is important in a system that has had troubling finding the open man to work on improving that. One big man has showed the capabilities of being able to produce assists, the other has not.

Circling back on the per 36 from last season, the models would have liked Hartenstein to finish with 4.7 assists per game. Per 100 saw his assists numbers all the way up to 6.4.

Hartenstein’s passing ability could turn into a key for a Knicks offense that needs to find a way to score more points while also spreading the ball effectively.