Isaiah Hartenstein showed a lot for the Knicks as a backup center for Mitchell Robinson and filled in capably during his starting teammate’s absence last year. But the reality is, with Robinson, Hartenstein, and Jericho Sims, the Knicks have three centers capable of playing decent NBA minutes, and Robinson isn’t going anywhere.
Which leaves us with two. Hartenstein was a pretty solid backup to Robinson during last year’s playoffs, with Tom Thibodeau giving him exactly 20 minutes per game in the postseason, but that was with Sims out with an injury. It’s worth mentioning, however, that even before that, Hartenstein was the preferred backup center, so coach Thib might not be too keen on getting rid of him.
But Sims has raw, untapped talent and some similarities to a young Mitchell Robinson in terms of athleticism and defensive ability that could make him the Knicks’ starting big man’s favorite protégé. He’s also cheap, with a contract worth less than $2 million this season, while Hartenstein is expected to be paid more than $8 million to come off the bench.