The SLC Dunk team is profiling all the prospects who could be in the neighborhood of where the Utah Jazz are drafting at pick #24. The four categories that we’re making our evaluations are Strengths, Weaknesses, Jazz DNA, and Fit.
It’s a different feel this year, guys. At this time last year we were in the late lottery, mourning a missed playoff appearance. But not this year! We’re a playoff team now and that means looking at late first round euro prospects, baby!
Let’s take a look at Isaiah Hartenstein!
Hartenstein is an extremely young (18 years old) prospect. For being so young, he has impressive size measuring at 7’1.25” and weighing 250 pounds with a decent wingspan of 7’ 2.25”. He also moves well at his size and is quick enough laterally that he should be quick enough to guard some NBA power forwards.
At Zalgiris, last season, he played 5 games averaging 3.2 minutes per game, 1.0 points and 0.8 rebounds. Obviously, not much can be taken from that and the reason he is going to be available later in the first. He’s really unproven at this point, but that’s what you expect from an 18 year old playing on a professional team.
So, Hartenstein’s biggest strength is probably his potential. The scariest word for a GM to hear. But Hartenstein has the physical tools to play in the NBA. A fluid athlete that has shown offensive flashes, he’s reminiscent of Donatas Motiejunas. His shooting stroke has been a bit inconsistent, but with NBA coaching has the potential to become a weapon.
Probably the biggest reason to get excited about Hartenstein? Along with his physical tools, he’s shown physicality and competitiveness. If Hartenstein reaches his potential, he projects as a stretch five. With his competitiveness, combined with a few years of development, that seems very possible.
We’ve touched on it already, but Hartenstein is young and very raw. Last year he didn’t see a lot of the floor at only about five minutes per game. NBA GMs are going to have to make a lot of decisions on him by what they saw at the Nike Hoop summit and individual workouts. But this is probably an advantage for the Jazz as their draft workouts have helped them select some great players.
Hartenstein may also be a draft and stash player. Some teams may shy away from that, wanting their talent to play as soon as possible. The Jazz, having the Stars close by, can also bring him over and give him time in the D-League. Either way, Hartenstein is probably going to take some time before he is contributing at the NBA level. But if he can hit the three, and use his athleticism on the defensive end, he could see time on the floor in Quin’s system.
Hartenstein has shown toughness guarding in the post and doesn’t shy away from physicality. He’s a competitor that wants to win and is willing to move the ball within the offense.
When I think Jazz DNA, what comes to mind for me is “Would Jerry like this guy?” and I think so. It’s not hard to see Hartenstein, if his shot becomes consistent, having the potential to be a Mehmet Okur type player.
Fit or not a fit?
Fit, Hartenstein is a stretch five, and you know that Snyder craves that shooting from all over the court. Personally, I love that he can pass the ball and shoot. I also like that he’s willing to bang inside. There’s a lot to like about him. The only issue is his inexperience, it will take time to develop him into a consistent rotation player.
I’m also not sure he ever becomes more than a high level backup center. But, at pick #24 or #30, that may be exactly what you are looking for, someone you can groom with the Stars and then bring them up when they’re ready. But with his skill level and a body that doesn’t need too much work, he may be ready sooner than we think.
The Utah Jazz should ...
Draft Isaiah Hartenstein because he would fit perfectly in Snyder’s system.