Free agency acquisition Isaiah Hartenstein has already won over the hearts of New York Knicks fans during the early stages of his tenure in the Big Apple, and he has done so without being at 100% strength.
Despite putting forth impressive energy and effort on both ends of the floor this season, according to a November 23 report by Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News the 24-year-old has been dealing with a nagging Achilles ailment throughout his 18 regular season games played in orange and blue.
“Isaiah Hartenstein revealed he’s been dealing with an inflamed Achilles. It’s an injury he came into the season with and he said he still can’t move like he wants to,” Bondy reported via Twitter.
Though the Knicks big has managed to play through the injury, any damage to the tendon significantly impacts one’s mobility and can prove to be extremely painful.
Despite his lower body affliction, Hartenstein has still found himself putting up solid numbers in 2022-23, posting averages of 6.7 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per contest on 52.6% shooting from the floor.
Knicks Urged to Play Sims More
With Hartenstein’s ailment and Mitchell Robinson having sprained his right knee back on November 4, the New York Knicks have leaned on second-year big man Jericho Sims to pick up some of the slack within the frontcourt rotation this season, as he is seeing a career-high 14.5 minutes per game.
With this increased opportunity, the 24-year-old has performed admirably, so much so, in fact, that an anonymous Eastern Conference coach has gone as far as to urge headman Tom Thibodeau to feature the center even more within the team’s rotation.
“I really like Jericho Sims, a lot of coaches do, a lot of teams do,” the coach told Deveney. “He makes mistakes on both ends but that can be fixed with experience. He is a crazy athlete, off the charts with the way he can move and jump at his size. Very springy. They knew he was a project and he might not be ready yet but every time he plays, he gets a little better.”
Over the Knicks’ last 10 games Sims has found himself putting up highly efficient averages of 5.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per contest on 74.3% shooting from the field and has earned two starting nods throughout this stretch.
Knicks Wing Has Big Desires
In a one-on-one interview with sportscaster, Ahmad Rashad posted on the team’s Youtube channel on November 22, when asked what the “next step” in his career is, fourth-year wing RJ Barrett stated that while All-Star and All-NBA selections are in his sights, as far as team goals are concerned, he wants to get the Knicks back to the postseason.
“Team-wise, we gotta get back to the playoffs and make a run,” Barrett told Rashad. “My second year we got a taste of the playoffs and…now it’s all you think about. That’s all you think about. You try to do everything to get back there and it’s some of the most fun basketball I’ve ever played in my life.”
As things currently stand, the New York Knicks find themselves sporting a .500 record of 9-9 and place in the ninth seed in the Eastern Conference standings, meaning if the season were to end today they would be participating in the league’s play-in tournament.