Isaiah Hartenstein is joining the Los Angeles Clippers.
As first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Clippers are adding Hartenstein to be utilized as another big man behind Serge Ibaka and Ivica Zubac. The Clips still have room for both a guaranteed contract and a two-way contract available, so their roster is by no means final.
At 6’8″, Marcus Morris could take some tip-offs, but he’s no center. Thus, with Ibaka fresh from back surgery and Zubac likely starting as the team’s top big man early in the season, it’s not much of a surprise to see L.A. adding some depth at the position.
Isaiah Hartenstein Background & Stats
Hartenstein made his pro debut at the age of 18 with the Artland Dragons in Germany. He spent a season with the Dragons before heading to Lithuanian squad Zalgiris Kaunas for a year, and the NBA came calling shortly after that.
The 23-year-old Hartenstein was the 43rd overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft by the Houston Rockets. He spent two seasons with Houston from 2018-20, averaging 9.5 minutes while playing 51 games, starting two. He averaged 3.1 points and 2.7 rebounds in that span, and was waived in the summer of 2020.
The Denver Nuggets picked him up in November, and he played 30 games for them last year, scoring 3.5 points, while also hauling in 2.8 rebounds in 9.1 minutes a game.
In March, Denver shipped Hartenstein and two future second-round picks to the Cleveland Cavaliers for center JaVale McGee. Hartenstein thrived with the additional playing time, averaging a career-high 8.3 points a game, 6.0 boards and 2.5 assists in 17.9 minutes. He also shot 33% from beyond the arc with the Cavs, so he’s bringing some intriguing potential to L.A. that may just now be getting tapped.
Hartenstein Has Well-Rounded Game
Born in Oregon, Hartenstein moved to Germany in 2008, where he learned how to play basketball from his dad.
Hartenstein’s father, Florian, was a basketball player and coach who influenced his game a great deal. In order to help make his son into a well-rounded player, Florian taught him guard-specific drills and put an emphasis more on passing than scoring.
“I can see now why he was doing it,” Hartenstein said about his father, via Cleveland.com. “I think that really helped me. He taught me how to pass. I don’t think I was really known in the NBA for passing, just because I was always playing (in Houston) with a great guard in James Harden who had the ball in his hands a lot. But when I was in the G League and stuff like that, I was always passing the ball.”
The young center played better than ever in his 12 games with the Cavs. If he lands in the right system, he could certainly flourish, so we’ll see if the Clippers keep him around.
“In the NBA, you never know. Even if you sign for a longer-term, you can get traded any day,” Hartenstein said last year.