A look at the Knicks’ most underrated player

Isaiah Hartenstein, New York Knicks
Mar 12, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; New York Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein (55) rebounds the ball against Los Angeles Lakers forward Jarred Vanderbilt (2) in the second half at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

While the spotlight often shines on the New York Knicks‘ stars Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle, Isaiah Hartenstein quietly had a successful run in the 2022-23 season. Averaging 5.0 points and a career-best 6.5 rebounds per game, the German big man could be gearing up for another significant season in 2023-24.

A New Home in The Big Apple

After brief journeys with the Houston Rockets, Denver Nuggets, and Los Angeles Clippers, Hartenstein inked a 2-year, $16 million deal with the Knicks in the 2022 offseason. He was handed a crucial role, providing essential backup minutes for starting center Mitchell Robinson.

Finding His Footing in the Second Half

Though his start to the season was lackluster, fueling calls among Knicks fans for his benching, Hartenstein discovered his groove as the season progressed. A standout performance came on January 24th against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Notching 9 rebounds off the bench and delivering sterling paint defense, including a game-winning block on Donovan Mitchell, Hartenstein flipped the script. From that pivotal moment until the season’s end, he averaged 5.0 points and an eye-catching 7.3 rebounds off the bench. His reinvigorated playstyle complemented Mitchell Robinson’s, fortifying the Knicks’ center rotation.

A Crucial Year Ahead

Entering the final year of his 2-year contract, Hartenstein aims to leave an indelible mark on the Knicks’ championship aspirations. As one of the premier backup centers in the NBA, he is poised to continue being an instrumental component in the Knicks’ success.

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