The Los Angeles Clippers needed a backup big man to beef up the bench this offseason, and they chose to address that issue by adding German-born 7-footer Isaiah Hartenstein to the mix. After receiving inconsistent playing time in Houston, his stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers proved that he is capable of being an NBA big man.
While Hartenstein never developed the 3-point shot that the Rockets wanted, he has been able to carve out a very promising career in the pros on the back of his post-game and hustle. The Clippers need both of those traits in spades, making him the perfect midsummer acquisition.
Hartenstein has rewarded LA’s confidence in him by averaging 7.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game despite limited playing time. Intrigued by what they’ve seen from Hartenstein over the first half of the season, the Clippers are locking him up for the rest of this campaign.
Los Angeles made Hartenstein’s contract for the rest of the season fully guaranteed, per HoopsHype. Hartenstein is very rarely one of the leading scorers, but even a very cursory examination of Clippers film shows the impact he is providing on both sides of the floor.
Isaiah Hartenstein has been a surprise for the Los Angeles Clippers.
With Serge Ibaka working his way back to full strength and Marcus Morris only suiting up for 18 games so far, Hartenstein has been able to make sure the frontcourt doesn’t disintegrate into dust when Ivica Zubac goes to the bench. Cleaning The Glass (subscription required) paints an even better picture of his play this season.
The Clippers are 17.3 points per 100 possessions better when Hartenstein is on the floor, which is the second-best rate for any big man with over 400 minutes. The only player above him? Nikola Jokic.
While his 8.1 points per 100 added on offense are in the 92nd percentile, his 9.6 points saved per 100 possessions are in the 96th percentile across the league. The hustle, size, and defensive acumen he brings to the game has been borderline elite this season, and it’s been almost impossible to take him out of the lineup.
Considering how long it took him to get signed, Hartenstein’s numbers with Cleveland were likely viewed as a byproduct of a bad team with no other options. At least the Clippers had the foresight to see past that uncertainty.
Hartenstein has become an integral member of the LA bench, and the front office has made sure that he knows that Ty Lue and the coaching staff value what he brings to the table.