Good news for the Knicks comes from Isaiah Hartenstein

It’s taken time for Isaiah Hartenstein to adjust to the style coach Tom Thibodeau wants him to play, but the Knicks center now believes he’s in a “perfect situation,” writes James Herbert of CBS Sports.

Hartenstein thrived as a playmaker with the Clippers before signing with New York in the summer of 2022. But Thibodeau had other players to run the offense and wanted the big man to focus on rim protection, rebounding and blocking. Hartenstein wasn’t sure the situation would work out, but he became more comfortable in his second season with the team, combining his passing skills with Thibodeau’s demands and replacing Mitchell Robinson as the starting center.

“Coming in, it took us some time to adjust,” Hartenstein said. “But I think unless you’re really the centerpiece of a team, you’re going to have to fit into a certain role. You won’t be able to do everything you want. So, I mean, if you want to be a winning player, you have to be able to do it. Now I’m in a perfect situation, where I’m allowed to play my game, and it’s working really well.”

Hartenstein has helped the Knicks overcome numerous injuries on the front line and has emerged as a candidate for the All-Defensive team, according to Herbert. He will have a chance to get a huge raise on his $8.2 million salary when he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer.

“I think I proved that no matter what happens, it’s a fight,” Hartenstein said. “I don’t think he’s ever afraid of anything big coming, or anything like that. I think I’ve established that I’m a starter in the NBA. I can play an important role in a winning team.”

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