3 Goals for Houston Rockets center Isaiah Hartenstein

Houston Rockets Isaiah Hartenstein (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
Houston Rockets Isaiah Hartenstein (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Houston Rockets
Houston Rockets Isaiah Hartenstein (Photo by Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images) /

3. Make his presence felt defensively

Isaiah Hartenstein certainly has the framework to be a defensive force. The seven-foot, 250-pound big man should theoretically be swatting shots left and right as well as affecting drives inside. While he only averaged 0.4 blocks in 28 games for Houston last season, he has shown he is capable in that area by averaging 1.5 blocks per game in his G League career, including two per game last season.

In the preseason, Hartenstein showed an improved prowess for blocking shots, averaging 0.7 blocks per game, including two against the San Antonio Spurs. In that game against San Antonio, in fact, he was the only player on the court that recorded a block even though he played just seven minutes. His goal should be to average at least 0.8 blocks per game in his spot minutes.

Hartenstein blocks Russ at the rim, Clemons hits the 3 #Rockets pic.twitter.com/iaNac8s5z1

— Alykhan Bijani (@Rockets_Insider) October 14, 2019

On top of altering shots from driving guards and post-ups, Hartenstein should be looking to improve his lateral quickness in a changing league where more and more big men are venturing outside and showing crazy athleticism. Long gone are the days of Shaquille O’Neal and Tim Duncan backing down in the post; the game is all about using a decent outside shot to get buckets or fake and drive to the basket.

If Isaiah Hartenstein can keep up with quicker, smaller centers at a decent rate, he has a chance to earn more minutes with Mike D’Antoni‘s Rockets.

Next: No. 2